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Saturday 3 June 2023 Dublin: 17°C
# Noughts and Crosses
Parents say this book on Junior Cert curriculum is like 50 Shades of Grey
“It was like we both caught fire, spontaneous combustion, we were burning up together.”

A WORRIED PARENT has described a book on the Junior Certificate curriculum as “sexually explicit” and likened it to 50 Shades of Grey.

Speaking to Joe Duffy on RTÉs Liveline, Sinead said she became aware of the book that her daughter will have to read next year two days ago.

Describing the book in question, Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman, Sinead says:

“To cut a long story short, they were childhood friends and it develops into a sexual relationship at 13. By the end of the book she’s 16 and she’s pregnant and he is hung for being accused of raping her in the book.

I don’t have any problem with that, where I have the problem is that at 13 the book describes all their sexual behaviours, well in parts of it, there’s a couple of pages.  It’s nearly like a 50 shades of Grey, it’s very explicit, it describes what they do.

“I don’t have the book here in front of me but I don’t know if I could even read it out to be honest with you and I just want to know is this normal?

Sinead added that she didn’t “consider herself prudish”.

I just think, am I living in the dark ages, am I being a prude? Is this the norm that our 13 year old kids are being exposed to explicit sexual behaviours in a book they have to read for school?

“I think it takes away a child’s innocent…they should be out riding their bike and kicking a football.”

Describing Noughts and Crosses, Joe Duffy said: “We’re given fair detail about how both of them ended up naked on the bed and it proceeds from there ….there is a lot of details in it.

He quoted this sentence from the book: “It was like we both caught fire, spontaneous combustion, we were burning up together.”

Sinead added, “It says the book is a young adult novel, on the back of the book there’s a warning saying it’s not suitable for younger readers.

How did it get onto the Junior Cert curriculum? Are parents aware this is the book that children are reading at school?

“We have the highest rate of teenage pregnancies in Europe, so is it any wonder when this is what our kids are being exposed to.”

Another caller Martina went on to say that she is also unhappy about her daughter reading the book and she rang the Department of Education about it.

However, she added that the person she was speaking to “didn’t know anything about the book”.

Martina also described how she went into her daughter’s school and told the vice principal that her daughter won’t be reading the book.

There are 20 books on the Junior Certificate curriculum for second and third year students and it’s up to individual schools to choose certain books from that list.

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