Monday Book Censorship Brief
A lot is happening in the world of book censorship. Here’s the most up-to-date news…
- Toni Morrison has been censored from yet another curriculum – this time from an advanced English class in Shelby, Michigan. Superintendent Dana McGrew ordered the teacher to remove Song of Solomon from the classroom. McGrew said her decision “was based on the fact that I have a community divided over this.” A group of community members objecting to the book may also challenge other titles, including Alice Walker’s The Color Purple and Dalton Trumbo’s Johnny Got His Gun. Update: Song of Solomon is being returned to the AP class after a school board meeting to review the book.
- Pages from a nationally acclaimed poetry anthology designed for teens, including Jayson Tirado’s poem, Diary of an Abusive Stepfather, were torn out by a Vineland, New Jersey, school principal after he objected to the ‘profane’ nature of the work. Landis Intermediate School principal, Don Kohaut, ripped the text out after one mother of a thirteen year-old student raised concerns over the age-appropriateness of the poem’s content. Angela Maycock from the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom stated the district’s response was “inappropriate,” commenting that, “the book is poems by teens for teens,” and challenges against it should be dealt with through a standard review process.
- In Pelham Manor, New York, an 11th grader was called into the principal’s office after he checked out a book on gun carry and concealment laws from the local library. Someone at the local library phoned to inform school officials of the student’s book request despite having no precedent to do so. In fact, as the library director commented, it is “not in our procedure to notify somebody.”Concern over the book, assumed to be for the purpose of learning about concealing a gun, led to the incident. However, after investigating, Pelham Manor police detective, Ken Campion, said the teen was merely doing research on gun carry and concealment laws, because he was nervous about recent violence on national college campuses.
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