CBLDF has joined the defense of Tanya Stone’s A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl after it was challenged at Cody High School in Wyoming.
In early November, a parent complained about sexual content in the book, demanding its removal from the school library. While parents are within their rights to make decisions for their own children, letting a single parent determine what is available to all children in the community raises significant First Amendment concerns.
The district convened an 8-person review committee to consider the book, and they will be meeting in early December to make a decision. Unfortunately, district policy gives a greater number of seats on the committee to parents / patrons (5) than to educators (3) in the district. Further, the committee does not include librarians, a composition that potentially undermines the judgement and expertise of librarians and teachers.
A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl focuses on three girls and their decisions regarding a single boy who has made it his goal to seduce all of the girls in school. The book has been widely praised as a frank and relevant take on how teenagers handle sexuality. Ultimately, the girls in the book stand up to the predatory behaviors of the boy — and for themselves in the process — but those who oppose to the book focus on sexual content as a reason to censor it. CBLDF has had to defend the book previously in North Carolina.
CBLDF signed on to a letter addressed to assistant superintendent Tim Foley from the Kids’ Right to Read Project, urging the district to keep the book available and reminding the district of its responsibility to protect the First Amendment rights of students in the community:
While not every book is right for every reader, the role of school libraries is to allow students and parents to make choices according to their own interests, experiences, and family values. However, no parent, student or community member may impose their views, values and interests on others by restricting an entire community’s access to particular books.
Read the letter in full below. CBLDF was joined on the KRRP letter by the Freedom to Read Foundation, the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, the National Council of Teachers of English, the Association of American Publishers, and the Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators.