(Wilmington, North Carolina)
A popular children's book is under fire in a North Carolina school district and the parents of one child say they may put their child in another school system to keep her from hearing about gays.
The flap began when a first grader brought home the book "King & King" from the school library. The book, aimed at students from 6 years of age, is fairy tale about a prince whose true love turns out to be another prince.
Michael Hartsell said he and his wife, Tonya, say they could not believe that the Wilmington school district would permit children to read material "about homosexuality".
In the book, by Linda De Haan and Stern Nijland, Prince Bertie searches for love through a bevy of eligible princes before falling for Prince Lee. The 32 page book ends with the two princes sharing a kiss.
"I was flabbergasted," Michael Hartsell said. "My child is not old enough to understand something like that, especially when it is not in our beliefs."
The book has been on the shelf in the library at Freeman Elementary School since early last year, and the school has ordered a sequel, "King & King & Family".
"What might be inappropriate for one family, in another family is a totally acceptable thing," said Elizabeth Miars, Freeman's principal.
The Hartsells said they are keeping the book until they get assurances it won't be circulated. But Miars said all county schools have a committee that reviews books after their appropriateness is questioned, and the Hartsells must make a written complaint and return the book for review.
The Hartsells said they intend to file such a complaint and are considering transferring their daughter.
I personally think that ALL of us need to send a letter to Principal Miars applauding her on her stance on this issue:
c/o Rachel Freeman Elementary School
2601 Princess Place Dr
Wilmington, NC 28405-3005
THEN fire off a letter to:
Michael and Tonya Hartsell
3614 Broken Limb Ct
Wilmington, NC 28405-8801
Explain to the Hartsells that "not believing in gays" is the equivalent of not believing in cars or the atmosphere. Explain that this book is a tool to teach children that there are many different kinds of families and many different kinds of relationships, and that diversity is one of the things that makes us American citizens - even though some things may be inconsistent with their own superior sense of morality. Explain that your children (or any furute children you might have) will be as well informed about the different aspects of society as is possible, and that love is love.
Do this, and I promise I'll do something nice for you first chance I get. Maybe even an LJ layout, you never know. If you're going to send a letter to either party, please post its contents as a reply here for all to see and get ideas from, I'll post mine and Maggie's later in the day.