'The Hunger Games' isn't appetizing to some parents - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

'The Hunger Games' isn't appetizing to some parents

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One fourth grade class at Belville Elementary is discussing 'The Hunger Games' in class. One fourth grade class at Belville Elementary is discussing 'The Hunger Games' in class.
The book and the movie are largely based on violent competition among young people. The book and the movie are largely based on violent competition among young people.

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WECT) - For the second time this year, we're hearing concerns from Brunswick County parents about a book being taught to kids in school.

Earlier this year, County Commissioner Pat Sykes filed a formal challenge against The Color Purple being taught to 11th graders in a high school.

Now, it's The Hunger Games being taught to a fourth grade class that has some parents upset. More than a half-dozen parents opted out of having their kids read the popular novel.

A large part of the popular book and the movie involves the death of a child and a deadly competition among young people.

A fourth grade teacher at Belville Elementary School is reading this book with her 8-10 year old students in an academically gifted class.

It all started when a group of fourth graders actually petitioned the teacher last year to let them read The Hunger Games for an assignment. It generated so much interest among the students, that teacher decided to teach the fiction novel again this year.

However, when she sent 28 permission slips home to parents, 25% came back opting out.

Brunswick County Schools Superintendent Dr. Edward Pruden says the book is recommended for children who are in 7th grade or older. While not faulting the teacher, Pruden said he believes that fourth grade may be too early for that material.

Other parents of students from Belville Elementary were split on their opinions.

"I think it's inappropriate," said Heather Schneider, a mother of two. "Kids getting shot with arrows and dying? That's not for a child to see. I could not imagine my son learning that book."

"Me personally, I wouldn't have a problem with my daughter reading it," said Collins Mabry, a mother of one. "As long as we explain that it's fiction and not real. But she knows that."

Jessica Swencki, a spokesperson for the Brunswick County School System says spirited debate about the curriculum in schools can be a positive thing.

Swencki explained that the school board does not have the authority to make decisions on what students read. Swencki says that decision ultimately lies in the hands of parents.

"They are the experts on what's best for their child," said Swencki. "That's what our policy in Brunswick County affords parents the ability to do."

The policy allows all 28 parental responses to be honored and prohibits the opinion of one parent from becoming the dictate for all children and families in Brunswick County.

Pruden says the book will no longer be taught in elementary schools next semester. However, the book will remain in school libraries.

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