UPDATE 6/16/15: The community-level advisory committee met today and is recommending that the district keep the book in the curriculum. Stay tuned for the Board's final decision on June 30.
After one parent's highly publicized challenge to the Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner has kept it out of an honors English class in Asheville, North Carolina, a coalition of free speech and literacy organizations led by the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC)'s Kids' Right to Read Project is encouraging the school district to retain the novel.
In May, an English II Honors was set to begin reading the highly-acclaimed book when a parent complained that it was inappropriate and it was suspended from the classroom per district policy. An advisory committee reviewed the formal complaint and determined the book "merits inclusion in the curriculum." The parent in question appealed that decision, effectively keeping the book out of the classroom while that process is underway.
In the June 15 letter to the Buncombe County Schools' Community Media/Technology Advisory Committee, which meets on June 16 to consider the appeal, the NCAC and partners—the American Booksellers For Free Expression, Association of American Publishers, Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, National Council of Teachers of English, PEN American Center's Children's and Young Adult Book Committee, and the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators—argued that the original committee decision should be upheld. The district’s Board of Education will make a final decision on the challenge on June 30.
The Buncombe County School district's policy states that "[b]ooks and other instructional materials may be removed from the school media collection only for legitimate educational reasons and subject to the limitations of the First Amendment." It also emphasizes that educators are "in the best position to determine whether a particular instructional material is appropriate for the age and maturity of the students and for the subject matter being taught.”
These are educationally and legally sound guidelines—and should not be disregarded to appease a single parent's criticism. As the letter states in closing, "We urge you to demonstrate your commitment to these goals by restoring The Kite Runner to the Honors II English curriculum."
Read the letter below, or click here to read it in full-screen mode.
[scribd id=268760133 key=key-U2jm2plqFlgsMDdtUO5z mode=scroll]