Robot 6

School board changes policy after complaint over ‘vulgar’ SideScrollers

A Connecticut school district will more closely scrutinize summer reading lists following a mother’s complaint about the profanity and sexual references in Matthew Loux‘s 2006 graphic novel SideScrollers.

Published by Oni Press, the book centers on three video game-playing friends slackers who suddenly become motivated when one of their secret crushes announces she’s going to a rock concert with a bullying jock. The well-reviewed comic was named one of the Young Adult Library Association’s 2008 Great Graphic Novels for Teens, which is probably how it ended up on the reading list.

But no more. According to WFSB TV, the Enfield Board of Education has removed SideScrollers and will take reading-list selections out of the hands of individual schools. Now a board committee will choose the books for district.

Christie Bosco told the board on Tuesday that she was “floored” after she read the graphic novel recommended to her freshman son. “I was absolutely amazed that anybody would recommend this and put a school’s seal of approval on it. Parents are busy and they expect that if it’s a book that a school system endorses, it’s going to be appropriate for their children. And that’s where Enfield failed.”

The board clearly agreed, with one member telling Bosco, “This kind of reading material doesn’t belong in the schools.”

“I think that the book is a bit vulgar,” Superintendent Jeffrey Schumann offered. “The topics they tried to cover were covered well, but perhaps there would be other texts that could cover them in a better way.”

Loux, who’s better known for his Salt Water Taffy series, may beg to differ. “I have officially made it,” he wrote last night on Facebook. “Stay strong, teens of Enfield!”



“Vulgar” as opposed to books that have the “N” word like To Kill A Mocking Bird or Tom Sawyer. How is it a good thing to limit what kids can read? This is clearly 19th and 20th century thinking that is clearly going to produce drones who won’t be able to move society forward, or at the least allow as many great thinkers of the 21st century to exist.

Not familiar with the book, so I don’t know what content Bosco and the school board are objecting to. But I’ve seen enough book challenges that I’m going to naturally assume they’re overreacting to something that, guess what, freshmen in high school are already seeing and hearing anyway.

Loux’s right: he’s in great company. Twain, Vonnegut, Clowes, Rowling — he’s joined some hallowed ranks here.

Brigid Alverson

August 31, 2012 at 4:00 pm

This is my favorite part of the original article:

“The book has become very popular among young readers and there is a wait at the library and local bookstores to purchase or borrow it.”

Congratulations Matt!

Well, I live in one of the next towns over from Enfield, and believe you me, this isn’t the first time that the School Board and the Town has done something stupid. Or the Parents responding to the School Board and the Town. In fact, this kind of thing happens so often, that I think they do it for sport.


September 1, 2012 at 10:05 am

I’d hate to break it to the mom, but freshmen kids are up to all kinds of “vulgar” and sexual stuff – in fact many of them start in middle school. Sounds like she is out of touch with reality

I’m too busy to skrew up my son’s life, so it’s the school’s job to pick up the slack. And mess all the other kids’ life by the same occasion.

Now THAT is vulgar.

Better shove that Shakespeare into the kid’s hands then…there isn’t any sexual, vulgar or violent things in Macbeth or Hamlet or A Midsummer Night’s Dream. How about Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo? How about the WWII poetry? These are all fantastic things to read and learn about…but God forbid the kids read something modern that they can actually relate to.

Even with all the cussing, the storyline is very inspirational and well written.
You see, it is about 3 friends and this girl and this jerk jock. The three friends, Matt, Brad and Brian, are spending the year after high school slacking and playing video games. The girl is dating the jerk jock. The jerk only wants * a spoiler *. The friends decide to * major spoiler here * . And in the end all is * spoiler *.

The council of vagueness

December 21, 2013 at 1:23 pm

Dear people who complain about their children being exposed to ‘vulgar’ actions/comments/whatever,
Pardon me, but your kids have to grow up sometime. This is real life. People go around cussing and swearing so much it is much to hard to completely shield them from it. If your child can’t handle it they should learn to and the best way to learn is from experience.

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