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Expert Answer Forum

by Catherine Frakas 30 Jan 2003

Harry Potter QUESTION from Therese Hunt October 11, 2000 My daughters teacher has been given a book by the above author. I have explained to him that I do not allow my daughter to read books by Harry Potter. Do you have any information that I may pass on to her teacher which may help to explain why it's not a great idea for these books to be read. My daughter goes to a Catholic School and is in year 5. She has a great teacher, but it is difficult when you have to approach the teacher about something you think may not be right for your child.
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, O.L.S.M. on December 17, 2000 Dear Mrs. Hunt:
Well, in situations like this, you don't really need to prove yourself or your position to the teacher. The Catholic Church teaches that YOU, not the school, and not the teacher, is the person responsible for your child's education. You have the right to forbid your child from reading this or any other particular book. It is frankly none of the school's business.
I recommend to parents that they get involved in their children's education if they send their children to a school. You will have your socks knocked off at some of the trash that our schools are teaching our kids -- even in Catholic Schools. A parent should review EVERY book the child is reading, every curriculum, and I would go as far as to demand lesson plans from each of the teachers.
It is our children at risk here and these parental demands are not unreasonable. If fact, such demands are a parent's duty.
But when a parent does this often the parent is made to feel on the defensive. You're not a professional, let the professionals handle this is the kind of message a parent will get either directly or subtilty.
Do not let them intimidate you.
You can express you concerns and opt out your child from the activity or the reading or the lesson without having to defend yourself -- especially you don't have to go into proving your case over and over and over like democrats recounting ballots until they get the number they want. Often that is what the school officials want you to. Demand proof after proof after proof until you finally can't provide any more and then they will say, see, you can't prove it.
State your concerns, a basic reason for your beliefs, but refuse to argue the point. Simply state your intention to not have your child participate, give an offer to have your child do some alternative activity or book, and STAND YOUR GROUND.
As for information, I refer you to the July/August 2000 edition of the St. Joseph's Covenant Keeper's Newsletter. We hope to get permission to put this article in our library, but in the meantime you can access it at
You will need the Adobe Reader on your computer to read the article. It is available for free and a link is provided to download this reader.
When you do open up the article in the Reader you will see a blank page while the file is loading up. It may take a LONG time to load up because there is a LOT of graphics in the file. It may take as much as five minutes to load depending on your Internet connection.
God Bless.
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