North Carolina

NC school district pulls honors class book called ‘vulgar’

Parents at a school in North Carolina called a reading selection for an English honors class “vulgar” and too graphic for high school students, according to multiple media reports.

The school board in Rockingham County, North Carolina, voted to pull “Beartown” from the class’s required reading list Monday, according to Fox 8.

“It was very disturbing. It was very vulgar and very graphic and just unnecessary,” parent Christina Reichl told the board, according to Fox 8.

“Beartown,” by Swedish author Fredrik Backman , was published in April 2017 and was a Publishers Weekly national bestseller.

Simon and Schuster, the book’s publisher, explains the novel as a story of a junior ice hockey team in a small town that has a chance at winning a national semifinal.

“All the hopes and dreams of this place now rest on the shoulders of a handful of teenage boys,” the publisher writes.

“Being responsible for the hopes of an entire town is a heavy burden, and the semi-final match is the catalyst for a violent act that will leave a young girl traumatized and a town in turmoil. Accusations are made and, like ripples on a pond, they travel through all of Beartown, leaving no resident unaffected,” Simon and Schuster notes.

The book was assigned to a 10th grade class at McMichael High School, according to CBS17.

The school board told parents this week that a new English teacher at the high school picked the book without the standard approvals from the principal and a review committee, CBS17 reports.

“Beartown” was praised by many reviewers when it was released and dotted a number of bestseller lists.

The New York Times Sunday Book Review gave a glowing description of the author: “As popular Swedish exports go, Backman is up there with Abba and Stieg Larsson; his debut, ‘A Man Called Ove,’ has sold millions of copies, and most of his subsequent books have also been best sellers. But in ‘Beartown’ he’s not skating by (so to speak) on his name alone; he really has a feel for the sport, and for sports in general.”

Charles Duncan: 843-626-0301, @duncanreporting