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Although "Fifty Shades of Grey" may be a hit with housewives across the country, Philadelphia mother Maya Ladson was decidedly displeased to find a copy of the erotic fiction novel in her teenage son's backpack. Ladson was even more unhappy to discover that her son's teacher had bought the book for him.
“The minute I found out about it, it raised concern,” Ladson told Philadelphia NBC affiliate NBC 10 on Thursday. “This is not OK to me. This is major.”
Ladson's son, a 14-year-old ninth grader at Eastern University Academy Charter School, told his mom his teacher, Philip Aidoo, bought him author E.L. James' runaway bestseller after seeing it on his reading wish list.
The "Fifty Shades" trilogy is a highly-sexual series with graphic, bondage-themed sex scenes. After exploding on the fiction scene last spring, the books have sold millions of copies around the world.
In January, a Brazilian judge even pulled them off the shelves of bookstores in the city of Macae after seeing a minor reading one, according to the Associated Press. The books can only be returned if they are sealed, the AP adds.
Despite the international appeal of the series, Eastern University Academy teacher Aidoo apparently told school officials he did not understand what the book was about when he bought it, reports NBC 10. Aidoo was suspended, but will not be fired, Eastern University Academy Charter School Chief Operating Officer Yvonne Turner told the station.
Jeanne Sager, of Cafe Mom's The Stir blog, said that as a mother, she understood why Maya Ladson would not want her teen reading "Fifty Shades" without her permission. However, she's not mad at the teacher, either.
"Hold up, before you get your fists-a-pumping, consider this: no one forced the 14-year-old to read about bondage and ben-wa balls," Sager wrote. "He chose it. Which means he was probably going to read it anyway. The teacher just sped up the inevitable, and he actually got a kid to READ. Isn't that what we want English teachers to do? Encourage our kids to read?"
Maybe. But that didn't stop libraries in three states from banning the sexy novels last year. The book is also number four on the "Top Ten List of Frequently Challenged Books," as compiled by the American Library Association.
This controversy mirrors a similar complaint made by a parent in Michigan last week. Gail Horalek, the mother of a seventh grader in the Northville school district is alleging that "Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl (The Definitive Edition)" is an inappropriate version of the widely-read Holocaust tale, due to passages referring to Anne's frank exploration of her own female anatomy.