MCSD votes to keep young adult novel in libraries

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Shirley Waller says she was shocked when her 9-year-old daughter Katherine brought home the revolutionary war book, "My Brother Sam is Dead," by James Collier, from Reese Road Elementary's library.

"I had no idea I even had to watch for this. I thought in elementary school our children were nurtured and protected," said Waller.

Waller says the book contains at least 19 cases of profane language, so she appealed to the Muscogee County School District's Media Committee.

"If profanity is not allowed in the school system, then why are we allowing it in a book? It's a double standard," said Waller.

It's not the first time this book has caused problems with parents.

It actually ranks at #12 on the list of "100 Most Frequently Challenged Books" by the American Library Association.

After Wednesday's media committee meeting, though, Waller still found herself on the wrong side, as the board voted to keep the book on the shelves.

"This book has stood the test of time and continues to be awarded. A lot of care was taken to make sure it was appropriate for the maturity level of readers they were intending for," said Melanie Harmon, PTA President and a member of the Media Committee.

"It was very well-written book, very gripping, and it gave a point of view on the revolutionary war that you might not have found in a regular history book," said Beth Beasley, the media specialist for Matthews Elementary and also a Media committee member.

Other who attended the meeting applauded the committee's decision, saying the book had a great story and the language was not inappropriate for the age.

"How many movies do they go to? How much TV do they watch with blood and guts, bad words, even nudity?" said Leda Brown, a Columbus Resident who came to the meeting.

None of those arguments persuaded Waller, though, who still went home disappointed.

"I'm shocked... I cannot believe this entire committee believes this is a wholesome and appropriate book," said Waller.