Statement from Connie Mitchell, Carmel High School Media Center:

There are multiple issues in the Kite Runner incident in Indianapolis. The basic censorship attempt to remove it from the curriculum, and using adult vs YA books in freshmen classes are two. What concerns me the most, however, is "Superintendent Michael Copper has recommended that ALL material used in classrooms be reviewed by a committee of teachers, administrators, and PARENTS." (The caps are mine.) In an effort to avoid these uncomfortable parental complaints, he is willing to give control of the curriculum to a committee that includes non-educators. Then THEY can take the heat if someone complains about the material they select. What a slam that is to his teachers, professional educators.

In contrast, last week in another Indy school district, the supertintendent stood firmly behind the high school teachers who chose Ragtime as their spring musical.

Protesters claimed a double standard was being used because the play’s directors had removed a reference to masturbation and swearing in God’s name but did not remove the racial slur, "the notorious N-word", that occurs 7 times in the script. The superintendent’s response was that it is "more central to the integrity of the play". To avoid a double standard, the items that had been removed were restored and the play was performed as originally written.

We are just in a hotbed of controversy here in Indianapolis. Fortunately, in both instances the Indianapolis Star opposed censorship and spoke up for intellectual freedom both in their editorials and local columns while giving fair & balanced coverage in their news articles. Years ago and under different leadership, that was not always the case.

Incident Details:

BOOK: Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

DATE: March 2006

LOCATION: Indianapolis, IN

DISTRICT: Metropolitan School District of Lawrence Township

CHALLENGERS: Tom and Julie Shake (parents)

COMPLAINT: violance and vulgar language

TEACHER/LIBRARIAN:

GRADE LEVEL: Lawrence North High School

http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060302/COLUMNISTS02/603020415

High School E-Mail: lawrencenorth@msdlt.k12.in.us

Superintendent Dr. Michael Copper’s  E-Mail: michaelcopper@msdlt.k12.in.us

See also: The Kite Runner Challenged in Morgantown