We’ve noticed that the State of Oregon has been a hotbed for censorship incidents lately.  Here’s what’s been happening around the state:

A Portland fifth grader has decided not to perform his act about President Barack Obama in his elementary school’s talent show after the principal forbade him from wearing a mask that depicts Obama during the performance.  The principal called the mask “inappropriate and potentially offensive.”

As we covered earlier this month, the student newspaper at Lakeridge High School in Lake Oswego, OR, may face prior review after parents raised concerns about an article on psychedelic drugs.

As noted on Monday, actor Steve Martin has come to the rescue of a high school production of his play, Picasso at the Lapin Agile.  The production was canceled in La Grande, OR, over concerns about sexual references and “simulated” alcohol consumption in the play.

The Censored Bookshelf, Oregon Edition
Books challenged or banned in Oregon in the past few months:

  • This week, school officials in Grants Pass, OR, replaced copies of a first grade reader, Help the Forest, with a revised version after parents complained that the book portrays loggers unfavorably.  The new version sent to the district by the publisher shows the loggers planting a tree instead of littering and says, “These people take care of huge forests,” among other changes.
  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie remains banned from classroom use in Prineville, OR, while the school board reviews its policies.
  • In November, the Sherwood, OR, School Board voted to keep Grendel by John Gardner in the high school’s 10th grade accelerated English curriculum.
  • The Book of Bunny Suicides was returned to the library at Central Linn High School in January.  The book was reviewed and approved 5-1 by the school board after a parent objected to the book this fall.

Update: Oregon Public Broadcasting picked up this story and ran a piece called Think Out Loud: Not at School, complete with interviews with the  those censored, as well as NCAC’s own “First Amendment watchdog”,  Rebecca Zeidel.  Click here to listen.