Parents concerned over summer reading book
by Megan Thornton
June 24, 2013 11:37 PM | 3589 views | 5 5 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Dickerson Middle School eighth-grade students have a second summer reading option to ‘Ignorance is no Defense’ — a basic legal introduction written by former DeKalb County District Attorney J. Tom Morgan — after some parents expressed concern that the material might be too mature for their children.
Dickerson Middle School eighth-grade students have a second summer reading option to ‘Ignorance is no Defense’ — a basic legal introduction written by former DeKalb County District Attorney J. Tom Morgan — after some parents expressed concern that the material might be too mature for their children.
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MARIETTA — Dickerson Middle School eighth-grade students will have a second summer reading option after the first book assigned caused some parents concerns that the material might be too mature for their children.

Principal Carole Brink sent out an email blast Saturday saying she’s received complaints from a few parents about “Ignorance is No Defense,” a basic legal introduction written by former DeKalb County District Attorney J. Tom Morgan, which was selected as this year’s eighth-grade summer reading assignment.

According to the book’s website, the book is aimed at educating teenagers about Georgia law to help them make safe and informed choices.

In the email, Brink said she’s decided to add “Across Five Aprils,” a fictional story about a family’s struggles during the Civil War era, to the list, but maintained “Ignorance is No Defense” is still a good choice for eighth-grade students.

“The eighth-graders have read this book during the school year for the past several years as it supports two of our curriculum goals and one of our units for eighth grade,” Brink wrote in the email.

“However, I do sincerely appreciate parents bringing concerns to my attention as it is never our intention to provide material that may offend or be too graphic for our students. It is always my goal to listen and respond to parent concerns.”

Brink did not detail what the complaints were about in the email and could not be reached prior to publication.

According to the email, summer reading is not required but “highly encouraged” at Dickerson. Last year, Dickerson students did not participate in summer reading but many parents requested it this year, Brink said.

Paty Holdmeyer, last year’s PTA president, said she heard some parents thought the book was “too advanced” for the students so they asked for a second selection.

Neither Holdmeyer nor her son, a rising eighth-grade student, had an issue with the book. She’s even attended one of Morgan’s speaking engagements and said he was “fabulous.”

“My son read the book, he just thought it was a little boring with all the laws,” Holdmeyer said. “He’s happy with the second option because he loves to read and he’s read them both.”

According to the website, “Ignorance is No Defense” describes various types of crimes and their legal consequences, including those for drugs and alcohol, driving violations, sex crimes, harm to others and harm to property.

The book received a resounding recommendation from Jessica Eaton, former counselor at the Walker School, who, according to the website, says Morgan’s talk is a “must” for every school.

Also recommending the book, Frederick D. Jones, Kennesaw State University business law and ethics lecturer, said the book should be a required course for all Georgia middle and high school students.

Comments
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In the Trenches
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June 25, 2013
It is interesting that so many parents are absolutely clueless as to the activities 8th graders participate in when unattended. After working several years with this age group, it is shocking, and a book of this nature definitely wakes them up to the consequences of poor choices.
Another comment
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July 16, 2013
I guess they rather bail them out of the Smyrna or Marietta jail. Believe me, no matter how good of parent you think you are, you can still get that call from the Smyrna or Marietta Jail. Even if your kid goes to Whitefield or Walker. Try reading your kids twitter or cell phone messages, it is a real shocker to find out their casual attitudes towards sex. They will lie to your face!!! But take them for one of those any Drug tests and they won't pass. It is cheaper than paying $1,500-$2,500 for a good Republican Lawyer, then for Rehab, and another $400 for fines to the city. Watch out it maybe the teacher who was sleeping with one of their school friends who provided the fake ID they used to buy 4 loco at the convenience store.
Met Him
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June 25, 2013
Don't know if this has much to do with the conversation, but I have heard the author of the book in question speak. In my opinion, he is a smart aleck jerk.
Lawdy Miss Scarlett
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June 25, 2013
Heaven forbid that eighth-graders be given the chance to become more informed about laws that may be or could become relevant to their experience as teenagers, and hopefully avoid dangerous or inappropriate situations. Much better to stick our heads in the sand and relive the Civil War yet again.
8th grade?
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June 25, 2013
8th grade is too young to read a book? Really? But in 9th grade you will put your baby behind the wheel of a car with my life in his hands?

I smell a book burning on the horizon at Roswell Street Baptist church! Too bad they don't burn their cars instead. Those contraptions are the real danger to their children, and in SO many ways.
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