Do you know about a SPEAK challenge?

I have been contacted by a teacher who is researching specific instances of SPEAK being challenged in classrooms or libraries.

Does anyone out there have experience with this?

20 Replies to “Do you know about a SPEAK challenge?”

  1. Dr Karen Coats (Illinois State University) related to one of our classes, that whenever she taught Speak, there was at least one person who had to leave the classroom during the discussion.

    She always saw this as a good thing; unlike Bridge to Terabithia, which she stopped teaching because someone always died when she taught it.

    1. That’s different than being censored though; it’s just triggering for some people.

      In my Adolscent Lit class, some girl said “I’m begining to understand how she LET that happen.” That pissed me off so bad I almost walked out. I wanted to bitch slap her. And I should have at least bitched her out, but I was too shocked to say anything at first.

      1. I sorta misread. I saw challenges, not challengd. Two entirely different things 🙂

        But it does bring up something, if Speak is challenged, what for? The subject matter, or the triggering material?

        1. I think it’s probably the former since most people who ban books are imbeciles who think it’s their God given right to poke their nose in everyone elses business. The top reasons for banning books are: sexual content, violence, offensive language ( because no teen has ever heard a naughty word before), occult themes (unless of course it’s Lewis or Tolkien), homosexual themes (because as we all know, books can turn people gay), and inappropriateness for intended age group.

          Personally I don’t think it being triggering is bad, because it also encourages healing, speaking up and fighting back. So in the long run I think it’s more than worth being triggered for a bit. Plus, it’s important for non-victims, especially guys, to see how devastating sexual assault can be. In other words, I think Laurie kicks ass.

  2. I know nothing about Speak being challenged, but censorship seems to be a big issue lately.

    this is what was going on in my county over the past month. Luckily, the hearing took place and the books are staying on the shelves. But honestly now, that’s just ridiculous.

    1. It’s because we have so many brainwashed fundamentalists in the US. And unfortunately a lot of them seem to be in power lately (so everyone needs vote and be informed). If they don’t like a book or think it’s evil (most of the time without even reading it or being to stupid to understand it) then fine, stupid as it is, they can tell their own kids they’re not allowed to read it. But who the hell do they think they are to tell other people’s kids what they can and can’t read? Oh and anti-Christianism? Bullshit, utter bullshit. Nobody is making their kids read it. Besides I think for the most part if teenagers can drive, then they should be able to decide what books they do and don’t want to read. Plus if you tell your kids every move to make, how will they ever learn to make decisions and set boundaries for themselves? Ugh book banners are right up there (along with homophobes, scientologists, and Bush lovers) on my list of people I wish would just form there own little dictatorship and leave the rest of us alone. “Hitler burned books and then he burned people.”

      1. book banners are right up there (along with homophobes, scientologists, and Bush lovers) on my list of people I wish would just form there own little dictatorship and leave the rest of us alone.

        AGREED!

      2. You know, I’m a hardcore leftist and deeply opposed to censorship in all forms. But I wonder if we do ourselves or our ideas a service when we express ourselves in these terms.

        Not every religious person is a fundamentalist; not every fundamentalist is brainwashed; in fact, not every fundamentalist favors government restriction. There’s a meaningful difference between Hitler, Bush, and Bush voters. I think we can all agree that driving and choosing literature have little to do with one another — especially since I’m sure you don’t support banning books in middle school or junior high libraries. Worrying about what materials are appropriate for children does not constitute keeping them from making decisions or thinking from themselves.

        When we use rhetoric of hatred, overgeneralization, and restriction against the right, aren’t we expressing exactly the sort of narrowness we oppose? How are these attitudes more appealing or more intellectually honest than those of the book-banners? I don’t want to live in their dictatorship, but I’m afraid I don’t want to live in yours either.

        1. Oh please. I didn’t say all religious people were fundies. I go to a Wesleyan college, I’m perfectly aware of that. And I didn’t even say all fundies are brainwashed.

          I also didn’t say Bush voters, I said Bush lovers, there’s a difference. Hell, my mom voted for Bush, but she doesn’t worship him and Fox News.

          Dictatorship? I didn’t say anything about me choosing what they and their kids read; I couldn’t give a shit less. But I definitely do not want someone else deciding what my family and I can read. They have no right to do that. Banning books impinges on our freedom; allowing them does not, ’cause we aren’t required to read them.

          Anyway the point is I don’t force my values on them and it would be nice if they respected me and everyone else who is different from them to do the same.

          1. It’s worth noting that the people in the article don’t want to ban or burn the books, just remove them from school libraries.

          2. Ok, so they’re banning the books from schools. That’s still banning them. That’s still not their decision. AS I’ve said, if they want to prevent their own kids from reading them, they can go right ahead, but they don’t have the right to govern everyone else’s kids too.

            Freedom of religion does not include being aloud to shove what you believe down other people’s throats. I have NEVER told anyone that they should be an Atheist. I’ll talk about it if it comes up, but I don’t try to convert anyone. Freedom of religion means beliving or not beliving what you want, that includes Atheists and Wiccans and Muslims and Agnostics and Jews and Buddhists and Hindus as well as Christians.

            Oh and before anyone thinks I hate Christians, I go to a Mennonite church every week just because I love the people there. I don’t hate Christians, I just hate narrow-minded idiots or biggots, no matter what they believe. I’m sure Jesus and Shiva and Bertrand Russell just love it when people use them as an excuse to be an bastard. In that case, I think I respect their religion more than they do, because at least I don’t make their God, philospher, whatever look like an asshole.

  3. Okay, I know this comment has nothing to do with your journal topic but I ran out of stamps to actually write to you. (Plus, I rely too much on the internet, what can I say? I’m a lazy teenager.)

    Two things: One, I was wondering if you ever got a chance to see our TV Show that we talked about a while back. Mr. Charb says a lot more people are watching and downloading it now, and I was hoping you got a chance to see it. (Especially since one segment was about you, and had you on it.)

    Secondly, I know that I talked to you a little about that writing contest that our school was having. Talking to you that one day gave me more of a motivation to submit an entry and I actually won second place. So, I thank you for the motivation…again. Weird how you motivate people in subtle ways, I know I’m probably not the only one motivated by you or your writing.

    Anyway, enough babbling. I hope all is well with you, I don’t know if you’re back home in Mexico but it’s been really nice outside. Which means tomorrow is probably going to be rainy. Haha.

    -Sara

    1. Yay for Sara!!!! That is wonderful.

      I am home for a few more hours, then on the road again. I hope I run into you at the library this summer!

  4. I wish I had some helpful research for you. My only experience with your book, besides reading it myself, is seeing kids reading SPEAK during reading time at schools. So, for what that’s worth, there you go.

  5. first time reading this book was with my english teacher ,never understand the meaning of speak until i read it.and understand what she was going true.

  6. I find it sad people still ban books. Okay, I understand that you don’t want your child reading a book that basically talks about reality, but not everyone thinks that way. Especially when your kid is in Middle or High School.

    You can ban a book because if has cursing, but they will hear 100x that at school and on the streets.

    You can ban books because of “sexual content”, but they will still have sex. They will hear about it in school from their peers.

    Parents, you might think your kids are innocent little angels. Maybe they were once upon a time. But this isn’t a fairy tale, and people change. Shit happens.

  7. Hi, I am writing a research paper in my high school english class. The topic is censorship and I have chosen to do it on Speak. Do you have any websites or just information on the book being banned or censored. Thanks.

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