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Norman Parents Upset With Racy Reading Assignment

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NORMAN, Oklahoma -

Parents in Norman are outraged over a racy reading assignment given to their daughter.

The family says their 16-year-old got an unexpected lesson while reading the book.

The student goes to Norman High School. The book was on a list of literature that students could choose from for an assignment for Sophomore English Lit.

"It's pornography, is what I think it is," said Tammy Jensen referring to the passage that explicitly details a sexual encounter between two characters in the book Snow Falling on Cedars.

Her 16-year-old daughter was reading the book Wednesday night when she came across the page and showed it to her parents.

"I couldn't speak. I was livid. I was absolutely livid when I read it," said Jensen.

Tammy says neither she, nor her daughter had any idea the book had the sexual content until her daughter read it.

"Books put pictures in your head," she says. "So if it's not okay to open a magazine and then look at this picture, why is okay to read it and have your picture in your mind."

"We understand that when it comes to literature there are going to be some parents who object to some literature," says Norman School's spokesperson Shelly Hickman.

Hickman says administrators would happily assign another book for Tammy's daughter to read that her parents find more suitable.

"If there is any kind of curriculum that a student is exposed to that a parent finds objectionable, all they have to do is request an alternative assignment and it is granted."

But Tammy questions why the book is on the list at all and why no one warned her daughter about what was inside.

"If we're not watching out for our kids, no one is going to be. So parents be warned. Check your children's reading list."

Hickman says the book is an award-winning book and recommended reading for Advanced Placement and College Boards.

Norman Public Schools does have a formal process where a parent can petition the board of education if they would like a book removed from the list.

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