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Parent on Hamilton Southeastern School Board raises concerns over book

FISHERS, Ind. (WISH) — One parent on the Hamilton Southeastern School Board is raising some concerns over a book on a summer reading list.

The book was part of a summer assignment for an Advanced Placement literature course at Fishers High School.

The book in question is “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini. It’s fiction and tells a story about two boys, their friendship and their lives growing up in Afghanistan. Some parts of the book can be very graphic, and it caught the attention of the board member whose daughter had to read the book.

But not everyone 24-Hour News 8 talked with shared the same concerns about the book.

Some students at Fishers High School spent the summer reading a best-selling book that has been the center of controversy in the past.

“For AP literature, we read the book ‘The Kite Runner,’” said Ben Clark, who is a junior at Fishers High School. “I can’t remember the author, but it was one of the mandatory books we had to read over the summer.”

Ben said thought the book had a great message about life and friendships.

“I thought it was a good book for the most part I mean there were a couple of graphic scenes,” he said.

Some of the graphic scenes in the book include a rape of a young boy. Ben’s mother, Andi, said her family listened to the audiobook during a drive to Atlanta for a baseball tournament.

“I didn’t feel bad or uncomfortable that they were hearing this in a book because it was a story and they did ask is this real is this true and to be honest,” she said. “My husband and I didn’t know we had to look it up to see if it was based on some factual story or if this was something made up.”

Andi Clark has four children and said the book started a conversation among her family.

“I mean how often do your kids read a book even at school and come back and say, ‘Hey mom, I read X, Y, Z, let me tell you all about it,’” she said. “I mean, yes, sometimes, but this was something we all experienced together.”

The experience of the book for one student was brought up by a school board member at last week’s meeting.

Amanda Shera told 24-Hour News 8 off camera she would like to see more options on the summer reading list so parents can discuss the choices with their kids.

“Because of the level of the class and, I think, the people in the class are mature enough to read the book overall even with the graphic scenes in it,” said Luke Vantz, who is a junior at Fishers High School.

Some students said they didn’t find a problem with the book.

“If you’re taking this class, you should be mature enough to read it, and they’re exposing you to this because it’s supposed to be a college class,” said Blake Bilger, who is a junior at Fishers High School.

24-Hour News 8 learned students who did not want to read the book had an option to do another assignment.

Shera told 24-Hour News 8 the policy committee in April will request the summer reading list from different department chairs.

A spokesperson for Hamilton Southeastern Schools said it has not received any requests to drop the book. The spokesperson also said AP teachers at Fishers High School selected the book for this year’s reading list.

They get together every year to decide which book to pick as part of the process of the College Board.

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