Parent complains middle school book includes attempted rape passage

by: Tom Regan Updated:

Sanford's son is 12-years-old and attends Autry Mill Middle School.

NORTH FULTON COUNTY, Ga. - The mother of a 12-year-old Fulton County middle school student formally requested school officials to withdraw the science fiction novel "Z for Zachariah" by Robert C. O'Brien from a required reading list.

The book is a story in the form of a diary by a 16-year-old girl about her struggles to survive in a post-apocalyptic world that includes a strange man.

"There is too much psychological violence in here, the mental and psychological abuse," said Johns Creek parent Kristina Sanford. "There is just no reason for children to be exposed to this at this age."

Sanford told Channel 2's Tom Regan she is disturbed by a passage describing the teenager fighting off an attempted rape by the middle-aged male character.

"They can make it positive that she got away," said Sanford. "However, what happens when these children walk out of the classroom and they're discussing it on their own? My child doesn't need to be discussing an attempted rape. Period. End of story."

Sanford contacted the principal and teachers at Autry Mill Middle School and expressed her concerns. She was told her son could read a different book in the media center while students studied "Z for Zachariah." Sanford told school officials she did not want her son to feel singled out.

"The school is great," she said. "I have not got a problem with the school or the staff over there. But the content that has been chosen by Fulton County for the curriculum is appalling and somebody needs to remove this from the reading list."

Fulton County Schools officials told Channel 2 Action News a committee would review Sanford's request to remove the book from the instructional materials list and make a decision in about a month.