A Texas school district that attracted controversy in September after suspending seven books from its high school curriculum has again raised eyebrows, releasing a list of six books that students will need parental permission to read as a school assignment, reports The Dallas Morning News.
The Highland Park Independent School District in suburban Dallas says signed permission slips will be required in order for students to read “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley, “The Working Poor: Invisible in America” by David K. Shipler, “The Art of Racing in the Rain” by Garth Stein, “Dracula” by Bram Stoker, “The Glass Castle” by Jeannette Walls, and “The Picture of Dorian Gray” by Oscar Wilde.
The books by Shipler, Stein and Walls were among the seven books suspended by the school district in September, although those suspensions were eventually reversed.
Last month, Highland Park High School teachers sought permission from parents to teach their students “The Scarlet Letter” by Nathaniel Hawthorne, “A Farewell to Arms” by Ernest Hemingway and the perpetually challenged “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain. But district superintendent Dawson Orr later said permission slips weren’t necessary for those books to be taught, telling The Dallas Morning News: “It’s great that [the teachers] chose to be that cautious, but I really don’t believe that they’d want a system that would really require them to have permission for ‘The Scarlet Letter.’ That’s not a system that they want. It’s not one that we want for them.”
Although students will need parental permission to read the six books, they might also soon get the chance to talk to one of the affected authors. Jeannette Walls is scheduled to give the keynote speech at the town’s literary festival in February. The speech will take place at Highland Park High School.