A junior/senior high school in Silverton, Idaho has banned the popular graphic novel series The Walking Dead and removed all copies of the graphic novel series from their library, despite the review committee’s recommendation to retain the books. The ban includes asking students not to bring the comic to school grounds and plans to change students’ access to interlibrary loans.
According to a local news report, a former teacher saw a student reading a copy of The Walking Dead at the end of the school year. The teacher looked into the school library’s selection of graphic novels and complained to Wallace High School’s principal, Chris Lund.
Following the school district’s policy, Principal Lund convened a committee of students, educators and parents to read the graphic novels and make a recommendation to the school board about their value and suitability. This type of committee is a common element of school district policies regarding review of challenged materials. The committee voted overwhelmingly to keep the series in the school library.
However, Superintendent Dr. Bob Ranells ignored the committee’s recommendation and removed the comics from the school library.
Along with the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, National Council of Teachers of English, American Booksellers Association, Authors’ Guild and PEN America’s Children and Young Adult Books Committee, the National Coalition Against Censorship has written to Superintendent Ranells urging him to reverse this decision and reaffirm the district’s commitment to free expression by respecting the decision of the review committee.
As the letter details,
The graphic novel series casts a diverse ensemble of characters within a horror setting to examine serious topics including trauma, grief, loss, and the capacity for people to rebuild personal, social, and societal bonds when their status quo has been ripped away. The series explores the nature of civilization by casting its characters into a survivalist environment where readers are invited to consider how they would live without the conveniences and security of the modern world. As it progresses, the series also explores the role of law in society, with several storylines that explore authoritarian, democratic, anarchic, and militarized forms of government.
Over its run of more than 30 volumes, The Walking Dead explores many of the emotional, social, and intellectual issues teens grapple with every day, while also providing vital ways of thinking about topics examined in the course of their education.
Read the full letter to the school district below.