Parents Demand Book Ban in Minnesota

November 23, 2015
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cover-justoneday-renderParents of a sixth grader in Rosemount, Minnesota, are demanding the removal of Just One Day by Gayle Forman from all district libraries, citing “a graphic sex scene, underage drinking [and] date rape” as reasons for the removal.

Erin Adler with the Minneapolis-based Star Tribune obtained Ben and Kandi Lovin’s written challenge to the book, which demands the removal of the book from all Rosemount – Apple Valley – Eagan public school system libraries. In the complaint, the Lovins write:

“As a whole this book’s content is not appropriate for middle school, or we believe, even high school students. It covers adult themes … that most students have not been exposed to and should not be provided by the school. It is a novel that has no life lesson to be learned.”

Forman is a New York Times bestselling author, and much of her popular work — including Just One Day — is meant for young adult audiences. Just One Day focuses on a single day in the life of Allyson Healey, a young woman who travels to Europe after graduating from high school. She joins a young man, Willem, in a one-day affair in Paris, and the book follows Allyson as she comes to terms with emotional aftermath of the fling and contends with her first year of college.

A committee comprised of instructors, students, and parents in the system has been assembled to review Just One Day, and they will meet on December 3 to make their decision. If the Lovins don’t agree with the decision, they can appeal. The school system has a comprehensive policy regarding the availability of reading materials, which includes a Library Bill of Rights and written policies on the Freedom to Read and the Right to Read. The Bill of Rights in particular voices strong opposition to book bans, stating that “Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.”

If the district name seems familiar, it’s because we’ve reported on and defended another book from a challenge: In 2014, a book review committee in the school system voted 10–0 to keep Barthe DeClements’s Sixth Grade Can Really Kill You in the district’s elementary school libraries. Originally published in 1985, the book centers on 12-year-old Helen, who has a learning disability. Helen must confront teasing as a result of her disability, and the book has been praised by teachers for its relatability, especially for similarly disabled teens. Parent Jenna Boutain filed a complaint against the book over the use of the word “retarded,” which she considers hurtful. CBLDF joined a coalition led by the National Coalition Against Censorship to help defend the book.

Our hope is that the district follows precedent and keeps Just One Day in libraries. We’ll follow the story and post more information as it becomes available.

We need your help to keep fighting for the right to read in 2014! You can help support CBLDF’s important First Amendment work by visiting the Rewards Zonemaking a donation, or becoming a member of CBLDF!

 

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