Sixth-grade students in a New York City borough were reportedly assigned to read a book that touched on masturbation until angered parents got the title removed from the summer reading list.
The New York Daily News reports that the principal of Public School/Middle School in Rockaway Park, Queens, announced Wednesday that “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” was no longer required reading following complaints from parents and inquiries from the newspaper.
“It’s about . . . masturbation, which is not appropriate for my child to learn at 11,” said Kelly-Ann McMullan-Preiss, 39, of Belle Harbor, who refused to let her son read the book. “It was like ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ for kids.”
Parents told the newspaper that all incoming sixth-graders had been expected to write an essay on the book to be graded.
Lines in author Sherman Alexie’s award-winning young adult novel include: “And if God hadn’t wanted us to masturbate, then God wouldn’t have given us thumbs. So I thank God for my thumbs.”
Calls to the school were not immediately returned. A spokesman for the Department of Education, Devon Puglia, told the newspaper that there was no citywide required reading list.
“Selected texts are school-based decisions,” Puglia said.