Though no student was required to read it and a committee of educators and citizens voted it should stay, the Board of Trustees of Meridian Public School District in Idaho still suspended the use of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.
NCAC’s Kids’ Right to Read Project, along with Absolutely True publisher Little, Brown condemned the board’s action in a letter and public release.
The letter cautions board members that “removing a book because some object to, or disapprove of, its content violates basic constitutional principles.” NCAC pointed out that, under the First Amendment, “[s]chool officials have much wider discretion to include material that has pedagogical value than to exclude it.”
“Students have the right to read affecting, engaging and valuable works and teachers have the right include them in their curriculum,” said NCAC Executive Director Joan Bertin. “Public education should not be subject to the personal views and preferences of individuals, nor should access to a high quality education be obstructed by government officials.”
The award-winning book had been used on the high school supplemental reading list since 2010. The Kids’ Right to Read Project has defended Absolutely True Diary in six challenges in as many months.