Hannah Mueller

About Hannah Mueller

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So far Hannah Mueller has created 21 blog entries.

Anne Frank’s Diary will remain in school after complaint about sexual content

By |2020-01-03T13:37:05-05:00February 19th, 2010|Blog|

The Culpeper County, VA school system received national media attention three weeks ago when school officials said that The Diary of a Young Girl: The Definitive Edition by Anne Frank would no longer be taught in middle school classrooms. A parent had contacted the school board because the uncensored version of the diary, used in an eighth grade English class, [...]

School Defends R-rated Films as Essential Teaching Tools

By |2020-01-03T13:37:03-05:00February 11th, 2010|Blog|

The school board at Council Rock School District in southeastern Pennsylvania decided last week that teachers may continue to use R-rated movies in class.  Their defense of the policy comes after an extended controversy that began last fall when parent Diana Nolan asked that all R-rated films be removed from high school curricula.  Parents were required to sign permission slips [...]

Two words on the chalkboard in Oregon draw complaints from parents

By |2020-01-03T13:36:35-05:00January 27th, 2010|Blog|

Athey Creek Middle School in West Linn, Oregon has taught its eighth grade students a First Amendment curriculum for ten years, addressing the controversies surrounding commonly-banned books and reading the books in class. The unit drew no major criticism until early last month, when librarian and teacher Michael Diltz faced ire from several parents. He had written two common “obscenities” [...]

“Doomsday” budget may shut down Philadelphia Library system

By |2020-01-03T13:34:40-05:00September 17th, 2009|Blog|

As Benjamin Franklin rolled over in his grave, the Pennsylvania State Senate discussed Wednesday night whether all of Philadelphia's 54 libraries will have to close on October 2.  Mayor Michael Nutter's Plan C, or "Doomsday," budget will start to go into effect on Friday unless enough state senators vote to pass a 1% sales tax hike. The plan, which the [...]

Apple censors the dictionary

By |2019-03-07T23:00:52-05:00August 5th, 2009|Blog|

Once again, a software company reveals its power over our access to information by making a dumb decision.   This time, Apple rejected a dictionary application, Ninjawords, because it included words Apple deemed inappropriate. According to an interview by John Gruber with Ninjawords developer Phil Crosby, Apple refused to upload Ninjawords to the iTunes store until a number of “objectionable” [...]

High school student sues Amazon for deleting 1984 from Kindle

By |2020-01-03T13:34:12-05:00August 3rd, 2009|Blog|

Amazon.com is facing a class-action lawsuit for remotely deleting two George Orwell titles, 1984 and Animal Farm, from all its customers’ Kindles.  Justin Gawronski, 17, a Michigan high school student, and Antoine J. Bruguier, a California Kindle user, claim that Amazon had no right to remove the books from their wireless e-book devices.  The knowledge that Amazon has that “technological [...]

There’s no such thing as a “safe library”

By |2020-01-03T13:34:06-05:00July 17th, 2009|Blog|

The phrase “safe libraries” should always raise a red flag. Proponents for “safer libraries” argue that some information is inherently dangerous, but the First Amendment is designed to ward off the suppression of information. In the case of  internet filters intended to block sexually explicit material, librarians and community members have to ask the questions, “Safe for whom?” and “Safe [...]

Kids’ Right to Read urges Leesburg library to uphold decision

By |2019-03-07T22:43:20-05:00July 7th, 2009|Blog|

The Kids' Right To Read Project sent a letter today to the Leesburg Public Library Advisory Board applauding their decision to keep two challenged books on the shelves in the Young Adult section without labeling or restricting them in any way.  We also urged the Board to uphold its decision during an appeals process.  Libraries serve every member of the [...]

Interview with Maureen Johnson, YA author of The Bermudez Triangle

By |2019-03-13T18:18:20-04:00July 6th, 2009|Blog|

Kids’ Right to Read Project Director Jamie Chosak interviewed author Maureen Johnson about her experiences with censorship, including the recent challenge against her book, The Bermudez Triangle, in Leesburg, Florida.  Here’s an excerpt: The Kids’ Right to Read Project: Challenges against The Bermudez Triangle have focused on ‘homosexual themes.’ Some commentators have identified this as an increasing trend. Would you [...]

Litchfield teacher resigns amid short story controversy

By |2019-03-13T18:18:06-04:00June 30th, 2009|Blog|

On June 18, the School Board of Campbell High School in Litchfield, New Hampshire decided to remove four short stories from the “Love/Gender/Family” unit of an English class.  Early last week, Kathleen Reilly resigned from her position as English department head, citing a desire to teach elementary school in a different district. Reilly, who had taught at the high school [...]

Summer reading list controversies: removal of all LGBTQ books in DC, Sherman Alexie’s book challenged

By |2020-01-03T13:33:59-05:00June 22nd, 2009|Blog|

It’s only the second day of summer, and controversial books are already disappearing from summer reading lists. A quiet act of censorship by Washington, D.C. Public Schools may have resulted in a reading list free of LGBTQ titles. According to a post on ALA’s LGBTQ listerve by Jeanne Lauber, librarian in the D.C. Public Libraries, the school district asked the [...]

Interview with Brent Hartinger, author of challenged book, Geography Club

By |2019-03-15T15:22:32-04:00June 22nd, 2009|Blog|

Kids’ Right To Read’s Jaime Chosak interviewed Brent Hartinger, author of the young adult novel Geography Club.  Parents recently asked for the removal of the book from shelves in the West Bend Public Library in Wisconsin. Kids Right to Read Project: What was your motivation for writing Geography Club? Brent Hartinger: You know, it’s partly because the story is semi-autobiographical [...]

Hemingway, King, Sedaris kicked out of New Hampshire high school classes

By |2020-01-03T13:33:58-05:00June 19th, 2009|Blog|

A couple of recent censorship attempts at public libraries have been squashed, but yesterday a group of parents succeeded in banning four short stories from high school classrooms in Litchfield, New Hampshire.   School Superintendent Elaine F. Cutler stated that stories by authors including Stephen King, David Sedaris, and Ernest Hemingway will be removed from the “Love/Gender/Family” unit of a [...]

Gossip Girl controversy goes national on FOX News

By |2019-03-13T15:05:54-04:00June 15th, 2009|Blog|

FOX News ran a national broadcast today about the Leesburg, Florida controversy over the Gossip Girl series of books in a public library.  The segment, Unfit to Print?, features Dixie Fechtel and Dianne Venetta, the two mothers who brought their complaints before the Library Board, had them rejected, and are now petitioning the City Commission to have the [...]

Why should U.S. computer manufacturers care about censorship in China?

By |2020-01-03T13:28:44-05:00June 11th, 2009|Blog|

Beijing recently gave computer manufacturers six weeks’ notice that all new PCs sold in China must have Green Dam software installed on their hard drives.  The name for the government-developed filtering program comes from references to a regulated Internet as “green.” Many people inside and outside China are saying that “green” doesn’t translate into pornography-free and safe for children, as [...]

Gossip Girl, Bermudez Triangle to remain in Young Adult section in Florida library

By |2020-01-03T13:28:41-05:00June 11th, 2009|Blog|

Yesterday, the Leesburg Library Advisory Board in Florida refused to move a couple of Young Adult books into the adult section of the library or give them advisory labels.  Parents had drawn up a petition in April against the YA status of the books, Only in Your Dreams: A Gossip Girl Novel and The Bermudez Triangle. Mothers Dixie Fechtel and [...]

Sotomayor carefully defended speech in Pappas v. Giuliani

By |2020-01-03T13:28:23-05:00June 5th, 2009|Blog|

Our analysis of Sotomayor’s free speech record wouldn’t be complete without a mention of her dissent in Pappas v. Giuliani.  The case reached the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in 2002 and concerned the firing of Thomas Pappas from the NYPD.  The department had found that he had anonymously circulated racist and anti-semitic literature through the mail from his home.  [...]

Free speech advocates make some noise, and books will remain on shelves in West Bend

By |2020-01-03T13:28:22-05:00June 4th, 2009|Blog|

The West Bend, Wisconsin public library battle finally ended Tuesday with the best decision possible.  The Library Board voted unanimously to keep the challenged books on the shelves, “without removing, relocating, labeling, or otherwise restricting access,” according to the West Bend Daily News. An inspiring demonstration of support for free speech among West Bend community members influenced the decision.  Last [...]

On Sotomayor and censorship: First the bad news…

By |2020-01-03T13:28:16-05:00June 1st, 2009|Blog|

Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s record of First Amendment cases has been under scrutiny since President Obama nominated her to the Supreme Court last week.  Let’s start with the bad news: In Doninger v. Niehoff (2008)*, Sotomayor was part of a panel of judges who decided that a high school student’s blog posts, made from a home computer, were not protected speech.  [...]

Locker lending library of banned books makes reading cool

By |2020-01-03T13:28:16-05:00May 28th, 2009|Blog|

The Canturbury Tales, Candide, the Holy Qur’an, The Evolution of Man, and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy:  all these titles are on the list of books banned at a Catholic high school somewhere in the U.S.  But that also means you can find them among the texts of Kat Atreides’ covert lending library, which she runs out of her [...]

Libel Tourism: Taking a vacation from your First Amendment rights

By |2020-01-05T23:18:41-05:00May 27th, 2009|Blog|

The New York Times weighed in Tuesday on "libel tourism" and advocated for the Senate bill that would protect U.S. citizens’ First Amendment rights from the more stringent laws of other countries, notably England. Senators Arlen Specter and Joe Lieberman recently introduced the Free Speech Protection Act of 2008 in the U.S. Senate.  A bi-partisan effort prompted primarily by concern [...]