Following last week’s news that John Green’s Paper Towns was removed from a summer reading list in Pasco County, Florida without due process, CBLDF yesterday joined a coalition calling on the school district to restore the book and to follow its own policies for dealing with challenges to materials.
When a parent emailed a Pasco County school board member about concerns she had with references to teen sex and masturbation in Paper Towns, district policy says a review committee comprised of two administrators, two teachers, and four members of the public should have been appointed to read the book and decide whether it should stay in the curriculum. Instead, someone in the district’s central office removed it from the eighth grade reading list in the space of a weekend, with no opportunity for input from teachers or other parents.
In a letter sent to Pasco Superintendent Kurt Browning and members of the school board yesterday, National Coalition Against Censorship member organizations pointed out that the district’s materials selection policy (2520) says “the fact that sexual incidents or profanity are included should not automatically disqualify an item.” The letter cites several legal precedents in support of the freedom to read in schools, and also expresses concern over a reported plan to “flag” books that may be considered controversial.
Read the entire letter below:
Paper Towns by John Green – Pasco County 2014
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Contributing Editor Maren Williams is a reference librarian who enjoys free speech and rescue dogs.