NEW YORK, N.Y. 6/12/12— Following the ban of Todd Parr’s The Family Book (Little, Brown and Company) in Erie, Illinois, seven organizations have joined with the Kids’ Right to Read Project to oppose the decision. The Kids Right to Read Project is a joint effort of the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) and American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE),
In a letter sent to the Erie School Board, NCAC and other free expression defenders criticized the district’s decision to ban the book and other materials endorsed by the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network (GLSEN). In doing so, the letter says, it acquiesced to religiously-motivated complaints by some parents at the expense of the rest of the community.
The letter warned of the potential first amendment implications of the decision and called for a return of the materials. It goes on to point out that the decision to remove The Family Book flatly rejected a professional assessment by the school’s reconsideration committee, which recommended they keep it.
“It is the school’s responsibility to provide a safe, non-discriminatory school environment, and to ensure that the anti-gay beliefs of some parents do not operate to the disadvantage any students, no matter what their beliefs or sexual orientation,” the letter said.
The book discusses all types of families—those with single parents, adopted children, step-families and interracial families. The objectors complained about a page that states, factually, “some families have two moms or two dads.”
In addition to NCAC and ABFFE, the American Society of Journalists and Authors, Association of American Publishers, Anti-Defamation League, Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, Independent Book Publishers Association and National Council of Teachers of English also signed the letter. The publisher of The Family Book, Little, Brown and Company, also joined their support to the letter.