Update: The School Board voted unanimously to keep Persepolis in the 12th grade English IV curriculum in Glenwood High School.
In a letter sent to the Ball-Chatham Board of Education today, NCAC and other free-speech organizations urged the Board to reinstate Marjane Satrapi’s acclaimed Persepolis to the 12th grade English IV curriculum in Glenwood High School. The Board will meet tonight to make a final decision on the issue.
Earlier this month, the book was pulled from classrooms mid-instruction, and against the Board’s formal policy, after a parent issued a complaint to the Superintendent. Though a review committee formed after the removal determined that the graphic novel met District educational standards, the complainant has requested to take the issue to the School Board.
The letter goes further to state that the book’s removal would be both educationally unsound and constitutionally suspect. “To remove this graphic novel because of objections to its content is impermissible under the First Amendment,” Joan Bertin, Executive Director of NCAC, argues. “Images, like words, constitute symbolic expression and are protected by the First Amendment.”
This isn’t the first time Persepolis has been challenged in Illinois public schools. In March 2013, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) attracted heavy criticism after they removed Persepolis from 7th grade classrooms. NCAC sent a letter to CPS calling on the board to reconsider its swift decision.
For more information, read our press release.