A Rosemount couple believe a book their sixth-grade daughter brought home from the Rosemount Middle School library is inappropriate because of its sexual content, and are suggesting the district remove it from all Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan libraries.

Ben and Kandi Lovin are challenging the book “Just One Day” by Gayle Forman, which centers on a teenager, Allyson, who spends one romantic day in Paris with a mysterious actor and later decides she must leave college and return to Europe to find him.

“As a whole this book’s content is not appropriate for middle school, or we believe, even high school students. It covers adult themes … that most students have not been exposed to and should not be provided by the school,” the Lovins wrote on a district form. “It is a novel that has no life lesson to be learned.”

They cited “a graphic sex scene, underage drinking [and] date rape” as problematic aspects of the book and also object to what they feel is inappropriate language.

A committee of parents, students and district staff will review the book and meet Dec. 3 to discuss its fate. The Lovins can appeal the committee’s decision, said Tony Taschner, district spokesman.

Convening a committee to consider removing a book isn’t common, Taschner said, and only a handful of books have been challenged since he came to the district in 1996.

In 2014, a district parent took issue with “Sixth Grade Can Really Kill You,” by Barthe DeClements, because it used the word “retarded.” The committee voted 10-0 to keep the book in circulation.

Erin Adler

 

St. Paul

Foundations boost vision screenings

St. Paul students are receiving plenty of help when it comes to exams of the vision variety.

See St. Paul, a partnership launched a year ago to screen elementary and middle school students for vision problems, is nearing a $600,000 fundraising goal needed to cover eye screenings and follow-up care for as many as 14,000 children a year over 10 years, the group announced this week.

About $190,000 must be raised to end the funding campaign and take advantage of a new $250,000 matching grant from the Otto Bremer Foundation, organizers say.

Under the program, students in kindergarten and the first, third, fifth and sixth grades undergo vision screening under the direction of staff members from the Early Youth Eyecare Community Initiative (E.Y.E.), a program of Phillips Eye Institute, which is part of Allina Health.

If additional care or glasses are needed, the service is provided regardless of ability to pay, by Phillips Eye Institute and its Kirby Puckett Eye Mobile. The project came about after studies showed vision to be the top health disparity that contributes to academic achievement gaps.

“Students who can see well are much more effective learners,” said Kirk Morris, principal of Benjamin E. Mays International Magnet School, where the matching grant was announced this week.

The Otto Bremer Foundation also backs a similar project for Minneapolis Public Schools students.

See St. Paul is a partnership of the St. Paul Public Schools Foundation, the St. Paul Public Schools and the Phillips Eye Institute Foundation.

Tony Lonetree