Issue 70, Summer 1998

Eighth grade students in Tiverton, Rhode Island, must have been baffled when their teacher asked them to give back copies of Go Ask Alice in the middle of a class discussion, on orders from a principal who had not read the book. A mother’s objection to language in Go Ask Alice so stirred the principal that–with no time for discussion–he demanded that the books be collected immediately. The teacher, who had used the book before with “huge success,” was shocked when it was removed in violation of the district’s complaint policies and procedures.

Considered by many teachers a valuable and important teaching tool for adolescents, Go Ask Alice, author unknown, is the diary of an adolescent’s struggles with drug addiction and the tragic consequences.

In her letter to the school superintendent, Joan Bertin, NCAC executive director, urged the district to respect the First Amendment rights of students and teachers. A review committee has been appointed and has returned the book to the library from where it was also removed, and is considering its return to the classroom.