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The student-run news site of H. B. Plant High School

PHS News

The student-run news site of H. B. Plant High School

PHS News

Book Challenge Meeting

Daniel Beccue
On Sept 18th , the graphic novel “blankets” by Craig Thompson, was brought before a committee after being challenged by a concerned parent. If you do not know what I am referring to, a book challenge is a way for parents to attempt to ban a book from a school’s library. Although in years past, book challenges have been an assured way to remove a book, this is the first challenge of the year, and compared to prior years there have been many changes. Will the graphic novel be removed from our schools’ shelves, or will it remain in the hands of our students? Keep reading to find out.

On Sept.18th, gathering in the Plant High School media center, the school committee met to discuss a book challenge concerning the graphic novel “Blankets” by Craig Thompson. To summarize the context behind this meeting, the book was brought before the school board due to a parent filing a book challenge regarding inappropriate and graphic material within the novel. What is a book challenge? Popularized by the “Parents Rights in Education Act,” book challenges are when a parent files a complaint about a book, asking for it to be removed from the school’s library and curriculum for whatever reason the parent deems worthy.   

The first notable event from this meeting was the announcement that the parent challenging the book did not belong to an advocacy group- it was a common trend among parents calling for book bans- instead, she stood alone in her case against the book. Furthermore, unlike others, this meeting did not allow public hearings. For context, book challenges are famous for-politely put- aggravated parents agonistically sharing their views. Regardless, this meeting carried on with any comment from the crowd, starting with the committee declaring their intent for the conference, going on to state,   

“We are here as a committee to decide on this book here, blankets, and there is no public comment.” “Our role as an educational media materials committee, MC for short, is that we’re brought together comprised of members of each school community, in this case of Plant High School.”  

After a quick recess for the committee to gather their documents, the discussion opened with checklist section A. Purpose. Overall, they agreed that the purpose of the graphic novel was to tell the story of a young teen transitioning from boyhood to manhood while illustrating the struggles that come with reaching adulthood; also, they unanimously agreed that the author accomplished this purpose.   

In section B. Authenticity 1-4, the speakers noted that the material is authored, skipping to question 4 after agreeing that questions 2-3 did not apply to the graphic novel. Again, the council agreed, citing that although the book was an original story, it did provide a realistic depiction of an average teen’s transition to adulthood.  

After reaching a verdict on the first two sections, the meeting moves on to area C. Appropriateness., and section D. Fiction Content. Overall, questions 1-3 proceeded quickly.  

Q1- Does the material Promote the educational goals and objectives of the curriculum and/or student independent reading?  

A1- Yes.  

Q2- Is the text appropriate to the subject?  


Q3- Is the text appropriate for the grade levels and age groups for which the material is available?  

A3- Yes.  

Upon reaching questions four and five, the committee referred to the complaint submitted by the parents. The parent claimed that on various occasions, the book showed nudity and sexual acts, also stating that the book offers a clear depiction of a man’s genitals. However, after reviewing the book, the committee explained that,   

“It’s not very detailed. It’s something that you say is not noticeably clear, and that is it. As he falls, it also doesn’t show.” additionally, “For high school students, you would not yet understand what’s going on.”  

Furthermore, despite showing nudity, the committee agreed it added severe context and literary value to the story. The intent behind the book exploring more mature concepts isn’t to glorify sex; instead, it aims to show the realities of being in a relationship by showing the effects of an unhealthy relationship through the main character’s feelings to give the audience a better understanding of their feelings. While the committee viewed each complaint, they maintained the same stance; yes, the novel does show adult or sexual topics, but it is not with the intent to arouse and is done in a way that adds more profound meaning to the text.  

As the meeting concluded, the committee agreed that the book “Blanket” was not appropriate for younger audiences of elementary and middle schools but was suitable for high school students. The meeting finished with the committee deciding not to remove the book from Plant High School’s libraries, giving a happy ending to our first book challenge of the year. 

If you would like to check out the bill itself behind book challenges, you can find it at 2022 Bill Summaries – The Florida Senate (   

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About the Contributor
Daniel Beccue
Daniel Beccue, Features Editor

Hi, my name is Daniel Beccue and I’m the Feature Editor for the Plant Newspaper. I’ve been taking Journalism for 2 years since I was a Sophomore. It's been a wonderful experience and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys writing. 

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