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Book too racy for middle school? Rosemount district weighs complaint

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Thursday is the day a Twin Cities school district will decide if the book "Just One Day" is just too adult for a middle school library.

A Rosemount couple upset by the novel their sixth-grade daughter brought home has filed a request that the book be removed from the middle school libraries in the Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan district, Sun This Week reports.

The school district put together an 11-member panel of parents, students, teachers, and staff to read the book, listen to the complaints of Ben and Kandi Lovin, and make a decision Thursday afternoon.

The book

"Just One Day" is a young adult novel about a teenage girl who spends a romantic day in Paris with a young actor and later decides to return to the city to find him.

Author Gayle Forman's website says the main character spends "a day of risk and romance, liberation and intimacy" that ultimately shows "how often the people we are seeking are much closer than we know."

Sun This Week says in asking the district to remove the book, the Lovins cited a sex scene, underage drinking, and date rape and wrote of the book: "It covers very adult themes … that most students have not been exposed to and should not be provided by the school."

Anti-censorship group weighs in

The National Coalition Against Censorship, through its "Kids Right to Read Project," sent a letter to the district arguing against removing "Just One Day" from its four middle school libraries.

The group says removing the book in response to subjective complaints about its content would raise First Amendment concerns.

Their letter also cites one of the school district's own written policies that says: “It is the responsibility of publishers and librarians, as guardians of the people’s freedom to read, to contest encroachments upon that freedom by individuals or groups seeking to impose their own standards or tastes upon the community at large.”

A district official tells Sun This Week the Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan schools have seen only a handful of books challenged in the last 20 years.

The public is invited to Thursday's 4:30 meeting, at which the Lovins and a school district media specialist will each have 15 minutes to argue for and against the book before the Reconsideration Review Committee makes a decision.

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