On Monday, October 21, NCAC’s Kids’ Right to Read Project wrote to Columbia County Superintendent Dr. Sandra Carraway to express concern over her decision to remove three novels from the proposed high school supplemental curriculum. Nic Stone’s acclaimed debut novel, Dear Martin, about a black teen’s struggle with identity, racism and police brutality, is among the three novels that were excluded for their use of “explicit language,” despite having been recommended by a county-wide committee of teachers. Regeneration, by Booker Prize-winning author Pat Barker and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon about an autistic teen investigating a local pet’s murder, were also pulled for containing “inappropriate” language.
In their letter to the County, the National Coalition Against Censorship and its partners urged the Superintendent to reconsider the novels in their entirety, rather than the isolated passages containing profanity that she requested the committee flag for her review at the start of the school year. “Had you considered the complete works of literature and their relevance to curricular goals, life lessons and real world experiences, you may have better understood the literary value of each passage and why the trained teachers on the Novel Committee selected these critically-acclaimed books,” the organizations wrote. The group also shared NCAC’s guidelines for developing procedural safeguards against censorship, which the County has agreed to review as it considers improvements to its curriculum selection and media center policies.
NCAC’s letter to Dr. Carraway is below. Click here for a full screen view.