Speed Reads

reading is fundamental

Dallas teens need permission from their parents to read Dracula, other classics

High school students in the Highland Park Independent School District in Dallas, Texas, must have permission slips signed by parents or guardians before cracking open six books.

Permission is needed to read Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, Dracula by Bram Stoker, The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls, The Working Poor: Invisible in America by David K. Shipler, and The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. In September, the district suspended the books by Stein, Walls, and Shipler in addition to four others, but this was later reversed.

Highland Park High School Principal Walter Kelly emailed teachers in October and asked that they send out permission slips for the books, The Dallas Morning News reports. The titles were selected because they had been challenged by local parents or were listed on the American Library Association's Top 10 Challenged Book List.

Some teachers have gone a step further, sending out slips for books not on the list, including The Scarlet Letter and A Farewell to Arms. Superintendent Dawson Orr thinks this goes too far, saying: "It's great [they] chose to be that cautious, but I really don't believe that they'd want a system that would really require them to have permission for The Scarlet Letter. That's not a system that they want. It's not one that we want for them."