Read through to the superintendent’s argument for pulling the book at the bottom here (I’ve got it in bold):

Superintendent pulls novel from AP English course

SAN ANTONIO A San Antonio-area school superintendent has pulled a critically acclaimed novel after a parent complained it was sexually explicit and offensive to Christians.

Judson school district superintendent Ed Lyman pulled “The Handmaid’s Tale” by Canadian novelist Margaret Atwood from the district’s Advanced Placement English curriculum.

In doing so, he overruled the recommendation of a committee of teachers, students and a parent. The committee is appealing the decision to the school board, which is scheduled to meet tonight.

The 1985 novel is a story of an environmentally blighted United States after a coup. Civil war rages as a fundamentalist Christian regime revokes all women’s rights and presses the few who remain fertile into sexual slavery.

Lyman says he found some of the descriptions in the book too sexually explicit for high school students. That — he says — doesn’t support state efforts to encourage sexual abstinence outside marriage.


Because, heaven forbid the books in an AP high school curriculum contradict the state’s moral agenda to promote abstinance before marriage and good church values. Hmmm, ironic considering the book in question!

If I were a high schooler in that class, I would feel enraged at being treated like a simple child who cannot handle a book with actual issues. I read the book when I was 16 and it did not make me run out and have premarital sex or start bashing Christianity — I loved the book because it did make me think so much about issues and social history I took for granted as a young contemporary woman.