Student Opinions on The Kite Runner Ban

Megan Stone and Gabe Petrie

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Gilbert, AZ- As most of WFHS’s Honors English 10 students know, Khaled Hosseini’s novel The Kite Runner, was inconveniently removed from curriculum by the District at the beginning of the fourth quarter of school. This effectively forced the teachers to completely alter their lesson plans and scramble to create replacement curriculum. Students of all grade levels were affected by this decision.

The specifics relating to the reason(s) behind District’s choice to remove the novel are unknown at the moment, but many believe it connects with the political climates and mature themes discussed in The Kite Runner.

Many students, whether having read the novel or not, are familiar with it, and had strong opinions on District’s decision. The book most directly affected all Honors English 10 students, and some decided to share their views on the issue.

“Students should not be kept from being exposed to the outside world,” said Porter Smith (10).

“It is not fair that just because some parents do not like the content, does not mean the book should be pulled,” explained Ivy Buxton (10).

Most of the attending upperclassmen at WFHS previously read The Kite Runner in their Honors English 10 courses, and have heavy thoughts on the manner as well. Most of the AP Language and Composition students recall reading the novel just the previous year.  

“They are trying to shield Sophomores from the wrongs of the world. It is invalidating someone’s struggle,” said Bekah Brock (11) in response to the chapter in The Kite Runner which alludes to male rape.

“Fifteen and 16-year-olds are having sex, doing drugs, and drinking alcohol, but they cannot read a book that alludes to something happening in the real world everyday?” questioned Alexis Manning (11).  

“They are only harming the students. The Kite Runner is an excellent way to learn about a different culture and the tragedies that struck Afghanistan during that time period. Despite the sensitive material, the novel can help educate students on rape, and how it affects men as well as much as any other gender.” said Jesse Wannagot (11).  

Some Senior students believe that the removal of any book from curriculum is unnecessary.

“I object to the banning of any novel, especially not a respected and accepted one. I feel that the district handled the issue poorly with regards to the teachers, and that there must have been a better way to assuage parental concerns, for example, by allowing students to opt out, like they have in the past, and like I did,” explained Emily Knight (12).

“I believe that if [District] banned this book for a mature paragraph, then high schoolers might as well read picture books, because every book we read in class deals with mature themes. I personally love The Kite Runner and think it should be allowed in our district,” said Natalie Davis (12).

Many students are outraged that HUSD would take such measures due to a mature theme, something that has already been exposed to them in previous book assignments. Personally, I (Megan Stone) am a big fan of Hosseini’s novel, and I believe District has wronged WFHS Sophomores. The novel itself not only allows students to educate themselves on Afghanistan’s culture, it exposes them to the reality that rape is not only restricted to women. Rape and sexual assault occur every day, all around the world, to all genders of all ages, and if adults attempt to shield teenagers from it, nothing will change.

I believe the novel should be put back into curriculum, and be taught as it has for years prior. Bad things happen in the world, and if everyone behaves as if that is a fallacy, then how can the problem ever be solved?

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Student Opinions on The Kite Runner Ban