Florida Parents Blame Books for “What’s Wrong with Children Today”

Two parents in Nassau County, Florida, are not only calling for the ban of two popular teen books, Lauren Myracle’s TTYL and TTFN, from school libraries, but are also blaming the titles for “what’s wrong with children today.”

According to Fox affiliate Action News Jax, Brook Todd and Billie Thrift, two parents who have children enrolled in the Nassau County school district, became upset when their children brought the books home from their school library. They expressed concerns over the profane and sexually explicit language and age inappropriate content. “I was reading a lot of sexual content and some things that I wouldn’t think high schoolers should have access to,” Todd told Action News Jax. “It’s telling kids to rebel against parents. It’s telling them it’s OK to party, drink, cuss and do other obscene things in the book,” added Thrift.

The two books, TTYL (instant messaging shorthand for “talk to you later”) and TTFN (“ta ta for now”), are part of YA author Lauren Myracle’s The Internet Girls series, which follows the adolescent adventures of three high school friends told entirely through text messages. Promoted as a series for the iPhone generation, the books have become immensely popular with teens since their initial publication over a decade ago, but they’ve also drawn calls for censorship.

The series as a whole made the top of the American Library Association’s frequently challenged books list for 2009. The series was challenged for drugs, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, and content unsuited to age group.

In response to the challenges her books have faced, Myracle has spoken out about the detriments of banning books, and in a 2015 interview with The Guardian, she asked parents to “trust the teen they’re trying to protect,” adding:

Adults who would like to police the thoughts of others might very well be acting from a place of love [but] teenagers are smart. The world is huge. Reading engenders critical thinking, not to mention empathy, so don’t take a book out of a kid’s hands. Put book after book after book into a kid’s hands. Any book, any kid. That’s an act of love.

Nassau County parents Billie Thrift and Brook Todd don’t agree, though, and instead blame books like TTYL and TTFN for nonspecific troubles with children today. “Personally, I think this is what’s wrong with children today,” Trift told Action News Jax. “It’s books like this and stuff being exposed to our children and it being allowed to being exposed.” Todd added that, “I would like them to do away with this. I would like them to somehow monitor what goes into the library.”

As it currently stands, no action has been taken to remove the books from the Nassau County school libraries, although both parents say that they will be bringing their case to the district shortly. CBLDF will keep you posted as the story develops.

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Contributing Editor Caitlin McCabe is an independent comics scholar who loves a good pre-code horror comic and the opportunity to spread her knowledge of the industry to those looking for a great story!