School Officials Threatened with Violence

Is there a word for “beyond angry”? If so that is my current mood. I am not going to even attempt to commentate on this at the moment because I am too furious, but I have pasted the article below. I will just say one thing: WHY IS IT ACCEPTABLE FOR RIGHT WING CONSERVATIVE CHRISTIANS TO THREATEN PEOPLE WITH VIOLENCE WHEN THEY DISAGREE WITH THEM BUT IT IS NOT ACCEPTABLE TO USE THE F WORD?!!! IS HURTING OR KILLING SOMEONE MORE ACCEPTABLE THAN SWEARING??? Why does this make sense to them???? I’m so mad I could spit.

D126 official receives threats through e-mail because of book debate

August 31, 2007
By Angela Caputo Staff writer
A cyber debate about a controversial summer reading selection turned menacing Wednesday when an Alsip school official was targeted with threatening e-mails, prompting police to investigate the source.

Despite the violent nature of one message in particular, police don’t believe the students of Alsip, Hazelgreen and Oak Lawn School District 126 are in any danger.

“There are no immediate threats at the local level,” Alsip Deputy Chief Christopher Radz said of the series of e-mail attacks that have flowed into district officials’ in-boxes.

One writer said he hoped Osama bin Laden would attack the school (though he added he hoped it wouldn’t happen when children were in the building).

Officers are combing through the communications, attempting to make contact with the sources. They’ve also stepped up security measures around Prairie Junior High, which is at the center of the controversy.

“We’re treating it very seriously,” Radz added. “It’s illegal to transfer threats along electronic communication.”

Local controversy about the book “Fat Kid Rules the World,” by KL Going, erupted earlier this month when the mother of a Prairie Junior High student called on district officials to pull the profanity-laced selection from an eighth-grade summer reading list. School officials stood by the book but agreed they would warn parents of its mature content in the future.

The award-winning teen novel has faced similar challenges elsewhere since it was published in 2004. In each of those instances, the debate about the coming-of-age book has centered on questions about the appropriateness of introducing foul language and sexually suggestive materials to a young audience.

Like in Alsip, individuals and groups with conservative Christian affiliations have fueled the debate by expressing their outrage through mass e-mails and blogs, which suggest Going’s novel is lewd and contributing to the moral decline of America.

“It appears that we are being attacked by one side,” school board member Jerry Mulvihill said of the barrage of information floating around the Internet. Among the criticisms was a statement the Concerned Women of America sent to the Daily Southtown on Tuesday declaring that District 126 is “Guilty of educational malpractice.”

Illinois Family Institute director David Smith defends the challenge as a means for “teaching kids a higher standard, not a lower standard” of values.

In the blogosphere, the debate about the “Fat Kid Rules the World” involves deeply divided camps who use words like “army” and “leftist agenda.”

“You can live in a virtual community, and it can lead an ideology to grow very rapidly,” said Eric Meyer, a communications professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The divisiveness is particularly troubling to Mulvihill.

“We want to see a balanced approach about solving this problem,” he said.

Since the book’s appropriateness was called into question, district officials have begun creating a selection criteria policy for the district, he said. They also have agreed to send reviews and information alerting parents to mature content that may arise in future recommended reading materials.

“This is a serious issue for us to address what kind of materials are acceptable for our schools,” Mulvihill said.

Angela Caputo may be reached at
or (708) 633-5993.


School Officials Threatened with Violence — 7 Comments

  1. (quote)Since the book’s appropriateness was called into question, district officials have begun creating a selection criteria policy for the district, he said.(end-quote)

    There is this crazy invention called Google… Wait, better yet, which will contain all the information needed about a certain book. Certainly a concerned, and obviously overbearing parent, can inspect all reading material of their child’s on the way in the door if they so wish. Confiscate the material and do a websearch to avoid any eye contact to their child’s no doubt virgin eyes, of any and all possible uses of the F word.

    Or they can make the school do it and sit and watch wholesome television like Fox news, which shows all kinds of insane IMAGES 24 hours a day.

  2. Hey K.L.
    I was at your workshop in Millbrook the night of the Deathly Hallows release…I was the late one (kids and cows). I just wanted to say that in my opinion the people who want to ban your book should take a field trip first. Children all over America live the life you describe or worse. When we close our eyes, it only disappears for the folks who put their heads down. The lives you portray in Fat Kid are not in place to incite fear, negativity or the decline of the human race. What you have created is a window into a world that really exists, with the hope that knowing will create change. It is not pleasant to look at things like this, but look we must. To ban a book is to gain understanding, then decide that life is safer if we pretend that we never really knew at all.

    We can choose to live our lives assuming that people do things with the best intentions or the worst. There will always be exceptions to the rule, but I’m living my life assuming the best and I’ll take the hits that com along with it. So to you, I tip my pen and say…it takes courage to change the world. Thank you for sticking up for all those kids who no one wants to look at. You are a role model to me and I will continue to read your stories and recommend them to everyone who has a heart.


    PS Loved Garden of Eve!

    PPS Thanks for all your help with my manuscript, I made a lot of really great changes thanks to your advice. It’s also nice to know that when they try to ban my book someday… you’ll have blazed a trail!

  3. I fear this post will fall of deaf ears, yet I feel the need to express my disappointment. It seems those who oppose KL Going’s book cannot see past what they feel is objectionable to the story she tells.

    Some have commented that her book is what ails this world. It’s been linked to The Georgia Murders, to Adolph Hitler and even pornography. Now people are threatening violence over this book. It’s insane.

    On KL’s other post, one commenter (NMC) brought up Hitler’s Mein Kampf, and how his ideas were brought into practice in the 30s and 40s, leading to World War II. This poster was trying to compare KL’s use of profanity in Fat Kid with Hitler’s views in Mein Kampf. Unfortunately for the poster the analogy is wrong. KL’s use of the F word is not the same as Hitler’s hatred and belief that the twin evils of the world: Communism and Judaism. Big difference. KL’s book is one of hope not hate.

    It’s a parent’s job to be an active role in their child’s life. It’s my responsibility to know what my child is watching on TV and reading and if I feel that my son is watching, reading or participating in something I do not agree with or want him to be a part of, then I make that choice for my son. I do not have the right to make the choice for someone else’s child.

    My son is too young to read fat kid rules the world. But when he’s old enough I will let him read it. Profanity aside, the book has a message that is positive and from reading the post’s on this blog and on KL’s website, I can say that it has helped and inspired so many more teens then it has offended adults.

  4. As a fairly conservative Christian, I am shocked and saddened by the actions of those community members. I don’t understand…why are they attacking the book and threatening people who read the book? If these people see a problem, surely it is in the situations that the book addresses?

    Maybe I’m not being clear…there are bigger issues than whether this book is read and whether there is swearing inside it. Specifically, do the events in this book reflect the outside world? Well, YEAH, and pretty darn well, too. I urge those who object to FKRTW to direct their energies toward solving some of the problems reflected in the book. And, like one of the previous posters, I realize that this will probably fall on deaf ears.

    I really like FKRTW, and as the YA librarian for our public library I’m glad that we have it on the shelf. Now that it has been challenged, it will certainly make it onto our “Read Challenged Books!” table during the Banned Books Week celebration. I’m sorry that it is on that table, but I am glad that it will be a little more visible for a while, too.

  5. Wait a minute … books don’t kill people – people who want to kill books kill people. They attack the ideas, the imagination, the inspiration, the motivation, the call to action that reading a great book engenders – even more so if the subject matter is provocative.

    In an effort to avoid hypocrisy, we would be obligated (as concerned citizens) to follow a ban on FTRTW with a ban on everything else that is contributing to the decline of our nation’s youth: camera phones with text messaging, iPods, Wii and other gaming systems, Bratz & My Scene dolls, and cable TV. Oh, and we’d have to pull our kids out of all schools both public and private.

    If this seems ridiculous, just remember (and I’m speaking as both a parent and a teacher): there is absolutely nothing – not one word, not one situation – NOTHING in Fat Kid or any other challenged book that every kid hasn’t seen, heard, done or fallen victim of at their junior high or high school.

    Books don’t hurt people. Only ill-informed, fearful people can do that. The tragedy is when they use books to justify their agenda.

  6. Reading a book with cuss words will not make you more likely to say them or make them seem more attractive. If you’ve raised your kids right, what do you have to fear from words?

  7. Wow… I am always finding myself shocked and sickened with peoples reactions towards things like this… Do people honestly think that their kids will go out into the real world and not encounter swearing… and sexually suggestive material? If they are so concerned about that then they need to pull their children from public school. Not force everyone else to swallow their beliefs.

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