Slaughterhouse Five Sent To Literary Gulag in Republic, MO

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The title of Slaughterhouse Five refers to the narrator’s improvised barracks at a Nazi Prisoner of War camp. Now the book itself, along with Sarah Ockler’s Twenty Boy Summer, will be detained in a special “secure section” within Republic, MO school libraries and only available for independent reading via checkout to parents and guardians.

The literary gulag is obviously an attempt to calm anger at the outright removal of the books from Republic schools in July, but free speech fighters at the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) are having none of it.

“In their ridiculous notion of a ‘compromise’, a 17 year-old will have to bring in Mom or Dad to check out books of inarguable artistic and educational merit,” said NCAC Executive Director Joan Bertin. “The board also continues to override the judgment of dedicated and experienced teachers by banning the works from required reading lists in the classroom.”

In an August joint letter that included American Booksellers For Free Expression, the ACLU and the PEN American Center, Bertin argued that the religious nature of the sole complaint against the books and the lack of an informed review process by the board made the removals utterly unjustifiable and a violation of First Amendment principles regarding content discrimination in a public educational setting.

NCAC says the books’ restricted status undermines the intellectual freedom of students and teachers, and remains a massive disservice to the Republic, MO community.

Associated Press (via Houston Chronicle): School Board to Take New Look at Banned Books

American Libraries Magazine: Under Fire, Missouri Board Revisits Book Bans

KSPR.com: "Ban Rape/Not Books" Protest Planned at Republic School Board Meeting

Coverage in the Springfield, MO News Ledger: National groups call on Republic school board to reconsider removal of books

Letter Re: Republic, MO Banning of Slaughterhouse 5