FRANKLIN, Tenn.—A battle is brewing over a book some Williamson County parents want banned.
The book is Witness by Karen Hesse. It tells the story of the Ku Klux Klan arriving in a small town in Virginia in the 1920's. Parents say it has racial undertones and isn't appropriate for 8th grade students at Heritage Middle School.
"After I read the book, I found it had very graphic descriptions of burning people," said parent Pam Hudson, "it is very graphic for 13 and 14 year olds to be reading."
Williamson County Curriculum Director Tim Gaddis said the book is approved for 7th through 12th graders, and is taught in school districts across the country. He said if parents are concerned, the school district policy allows them to have the final word on what their children read.
"If a parent feels that a book is inappropriate," said Gaddis, "parents have the right to say that their student doesn't have to read that book."
Parents discussed their concerns with Gaddis during a meeting at Heritage Middle School. They say they don't want their students, or future students to have to read the book.
"I was appalled," said parent Sharon Hills, "My son is a 6th grader, and I don't want him reading this when he reaches the 8th grade."
The district hasn't made a final decision if the book will stay on the approved reading list. Gaddis said the school's principal and Language Arts teacher will have the final say.
To ban a book in the Williamson County School district, parents have to complete a form that goes before a district committee. They review the concerns, and make recommendations to the school board.