This week saw a victory for free speech when the Glen Ellyn school board lifted their ban on The Perks of Being a Wallflower. This victory was hard won by a grass roots movement that included letters from CBLDF-sponsored Kids’ Right to Read Project, a letter-writing campaign led by the National Coalition Against Censorship, and the vocal opposition of students, teachers, parents, and even acclaimed author Judy Blume.
KRRP released the following statement in response to the decision to reverse the ban:
Victory for Kids’ Right to Read in Glen Ellyn: Perks Ban Reversed
District 41 School Board Votes 6-1 to Return Perks and Adopt New Policies
NEW YORK, NY, June 11, 2013 — The Kids’ Right to Read Project (KRRP) celebrated today the return of Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Simon & Schuster) to middle school classroom libraries in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. District 41 school board members voted 6-1 to reverse a ban on the book at their meeting yesterday.
The outgoing Glen Ellyn school board effectively banned Perks on April 29 in a 4-2 vote that rejected the recommendation of an ad hoc book evaluation committee composed of teachers, a principal and a librarian.
The ban incited strong opposition. Almost 900 people, many of them Glen Ellyn residents, signed a petition on Change.org to restore access to the book. KRRP aided a grassroots movement to have the ban reversed, through organizing supporters, writing letters about the educational and legal implications of the ban, consulting with teachers and administrators about policies and best practices, bolstering a student-led online media campaign and negotiating between interested parties.
“We are thrilled with the outcome of the vote,” said Acacia O’Connor, Kids’ Right to Read Project Coordinator. “What was most impressive, however, was the energy and courage demonstrated by the supporters on the ground in Glen Ellyn: middle school and high school students, English teachers, media resource specialists and parents. It was fantastic to work with such a committed and passionate group of people.”
KRRP responds to book censorship issues in schools and libraries nationwide and supports the free speech rights of students. It was founded by the National Coalition Against Censorship and the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, and receives support from the Association of American Publishers and the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. www.ncac.org/Kids-Right-To-Read/
For more on the story, see our previous coverage:
The retention of The Perks of Being a Wallflower in Glen Ellyn is a victory in the fight for the right to read! Please help support CBLDF’s important First Amendment work by making a donation or becoming a member of the CBLDF!