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After Norman schools snub, author Ellen Hopkins draws crowd in Moore

MOORE — A crowd of students, teachers and librarians gathered to hear best-selling author Ellen Hopkins speak Tuesday night.

Hopkins, who has written several novels for young adults, was originally scheduled to speak at Whittier Middle School in Norman, but her visit was canceled after a parent challenged content in her book "Glass.”

She decided to come anyway, and she spoke to about 150 people in a lecture hall at Hillsdale Free Will Baptist College.

When Norman parent Deb Mason heard about Hopkins’ not being allowed to speak to students, she was outraged.

"I feel like it’s a kind of censorship-type situation,” she said. She brought her 15-year-old daughter Sammi to the event.

Her daughter has read some of Hopkins’ books and enjoys her writing style, Mason said. Even though the books deal with serious issues, Mason said her daughter can take it all in context and think for herself.

Sammi Mason was upset when she heard of the cancelation. "I think it was unfair to keep the students from being able to hear her.”

Students from other districts also attended after word spread on social media sites.

Cheyanne Sell, 17, a Southmoore High School student, has read all of Hopkins’ books. She said the books teach important life lessons students need to hear.

"You can’t shelter kids from everything,” she said, adding that the books may keep some from going down the wrong path.

Hopkins’ novels deal with serious issues teens face, like drug addiction, suicide and sexual abuse.

"Glass,” is loosely based on Hopkins’ experience with her daughter, who became addicted to methamphetamine.

Tuesday night she told how her daughter went from being a straight-A student to a drug addict. The choices she made ruined her life, Hopkins said.

She said she writes about the tough subjects because teens are facing these situations every day.

"Somebody’s got to write about it,” she said. "We’ve got to look at it and figure out how to turn this stuff around.”

A Whittier parent objected to the content of "Glass” and requested a formal curriculum review, per district policy. The school district didn’t have time to complete the review before the visit, so it was canceled, said Superintendent Joe Siano.

Related Photos
Author Ellen Hopkins speaks  at Hillsdale Free Will Baptist College in Moore on Tuesday.  PHOTO BY JOHN CLANTON, THE OKLAHOMAN

Author Ellen Hopkins speaks at Hillsdale Free Will Baptist College in Moore on Tuesday. PHOTO BY JOHN CLANTON, THE OKLAHOMAN

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-f41d48cfc571c8f88329b36aa771afb2.jpg" alt="Photo - Author Ellen Hopkins speaks at Hillsdale Free Will Baptist College in Moore on Tuesday. PHOTO BY JOHN CLANTON, THE OKLAHOMAN" title="Author Ellen Hopkins speaks at Hillsdale Free Will Baptist College in Moore on Tuesday. PHOTO BY JOHN CLANTON, THE OKLAHOMAN"><figcaption>Author Ellen Hopkins speaks at Hillsdale Free Will Baptist College in Moore on Tuesday. PHOTO BY JOHN CLANTON, THE OKLAHOMAN</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-d070fc6aa97ce05260f77ce3c0b86fa0.jpg" alt="Photo - Author Ellen Hopkins speaks at Hillsdale Free Will Bible College in Moore, Okla., on Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2009. By John Clanton, The Oklahoman ORG XMIT: KOD" title="Author Ellen Hopkins speaks at Hillsdale Free Will Bible College in Moore, Okla., on Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2009. By John Clanton, The Oklahoman ORG XMIT: KOD"><figcaption>Author Ellen Hopkins speaks at Hillsdale Free Will Bible College in Moore, Okla., on Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2009. By John Clanton, The Oklahoman ORG XMIT: KOD</figcaption></figure>
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