By Cortney Mumaugh

Staff Writer

KALIDA - Concerned parents addressed the Kalida School Board on December 8 regarding a book a fifth grader brought home from school.

"Lush" by Natasha Friend was deemed inappropriate by parents, Kalida School Board and Kalida administration. The book has been pulled from library shelves at the school.

"Lush" was purchased by a fifth grade teacher based on the review provided by Scholastic. The Scholastic website states the following about "Lush":

"Samantha has a secret...It's hard to be a thirteen-year-old-girl. But it's even harder when your father's a drunk. It adds an extra layer to everything - your family's reaction to things, the friends you're willing to bring home, the way you see yourself and the world. For Samantha, it's something that has been going on for so long that she's almost used to it. Only, you never get used to it. Especially when it starts to get worse.

Sam knows things have to stop. But she doesn't know how to make them stop. So she picks a random girl in the library and starts sending her notes, asking for advice. And she keeps an extra-close eye on her little brother, trying to protect him from getting hurt. Sam doesn't want her family to fall apart. But that might be what has to happen for things to be okay again.

As she did in the prize-winning Perfect, Natasha Friend has written a powerful, honest novel that gets to the heart of one girl's problems - and the strength she must find in order to cope."

Scholastic rates the book appropriate for ages 13 and over. A seemingly relevant story for a child to read. However, this review does not mention the sexual nature of "Lush."

"The book was disgusting and disturbing to anyone, especially a child in the school system. It's open and very descriptive of sexuality, rape, and drunkenness," stated the father of a Kalida fifth grader. "There needs to be some sort of system so this does not happen again."

"I read the book and it is not appropriate for fifth graders," stated Kalida Superintendent Don Horstman. "I contacted the publisher and the two major school reviewers that almost every teacher uses, which both gave glowing reviews. They apologized, but I don't know what they will do to the reviews. You rely on a professional service such as Scholastic to review your books. Everything I read gave glowing reviews and didn't go into the graphic sexual details of the book. From reading those reviews I would have bought the book."

"It was amazing that any, any educational organization would recommend (Lush) to any middle-grade level child," stated Horstman. "It is recommended for grades five through nine and it is wildly inappropriate for those ages."

Karl Lammers, Elementary Principal is checking into a screening procedure/process and will report back to the parents and Superintendent.