It’s Thanksgiving, and while CBLDF would prefer to give thanks to the end of censorship entirely, we’re not so lucky. Regardless, we’ve seen several victories for the right to read this year, and we’re happy to include them on our list of things to be thankful for! Let’s take a look at a few of those victories…
CBLDF Joins Letter Challenging Kings Canyon’s “Removal First, Review Second” Policy
Parents in King’s Canyon Unified School District demanded the removal of David Mitchell’s Black Swan Green from the high school curriculum, with one father calling the book “inappropriate, amoral and disgusting.” Upon receiving the complaint, school authorities removed the book from a high school library and told teachers to withhold it from classrooms. The book was neither reviewed nor was a clear challenge policy followed at the time of removal. Ultimately, Black Swan Green survived the challenge, but the way the challenge was handled has many free speech advocates concerned, so CBLDF-sponsored Kids Right to Read Project sent a letter to the Kings Canyon School Board to voice those concerns. CBLDF joined KRRP on the letter. More…
• Kings Canyon Parents Want Black Swan Green Out of Class
Idaho School Board Decides Against Prior Consent Policy
In October, CBLDF joined a coalition led by the Kids’ Right to Read Project to oppose a proposed parental consent policy that would have been implemented for every assigned book. On Monday, the Teton County, Idaho, school board reviewed the policy and decided not to implement it, a victory for KRRP and its supporters. The policy was proposed in the wake of controversy over Rudolfo Anaya’s Bless Me, Ultima, which was removed from and then restored to high school classrooms last year after some parents complained about language and “satanic rituals.” More…
• NCAC Letter Objects to Idaho Prior Consent Proposal for Assigned Reading
• Bless Me, Ultima Returned to Idaho Classrooms with Emotional Apology
• CBLDF Signs Letter Defending Bless Me, Ultima
Waukesha Rejects Challenges to Two More Books
Over the summer, a school review committee in Waukesha, Wisconsin, unanimously rejected a challenge to John Green’s Looking for Alaska, but the positive outcome was somewhat tempered by the news that two further books had been challenged in the same school district by another parent. Fortunately, the Waukesha district’s Consideration Committee also unanimously rebuffed the challenges to Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner and Chris Crutcher’s Chinese Handcuffs, noting that individual students always have the option to choose an alternate book if they’re not comfortable with an assignment. More…
• NCAC Members Warn Waukesha Board Against “Red-Flagging” Books
• Looking for Alaska Retained in Waukesha, Two More Books Challenged
• CBLDF Joins Defense of Looking for Alaska in Wisconsin
• John Green’s Looking for Alaska Under Attack in Wisconsin
VICTORY: Illinois Challenge to Persepolis Fails by Unanimous Decision
During Banned Books Week — a week CBLDF ironically spent joining more defenses than we’ve ever seen in the same period — CBLDF joined a coalition led by CBLDF-sponsored Kids’ Right to Read Project in sending a letter to defend Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis in an Illinois school district. Last night, the Ball-Chatham School Board in Illinois voted unanimously to keep the book in classrooms. Parent Mike Housewirth brought the challenge, arguing that depictions of torture in the book were inappropriate for the senior-level English students to which it was assigned. Housewirth further questioned why a book about Muslims was assigned on September 11. More…
• Persepolis Suspended from Curriculum in Another Illinois High School
Pennsylvania School Board Rescinds Ban of The Handmaid’s Tale
A Pennsylvania school board voted to ban Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale as a high school summer reading book, but reversed that decision at its subsequent meeting. CBLDF joined the National Coalition Against Censorship in sending a letter to the district protesting the ban. As unfortunately happens in so many other school districts, the Ringgold school board initially failed to follow its own policy for dealing with challenged books — but in this case several board members felt immediate remorse and rectified their mistake as soon as possible. More…
It wasn’t all milk and cookies for CBLDF and the freedom to read this year. We’re still closely following the situation in Highland Park, where the school board has instituted parental permission form policy based on ALA’s list of most challenged books; a school district in Delaware did away with an entire summer reading list rather than keep The Miseducation of Cameron Post on the list; a Pensacola school superintendent cancelled a summer reading program that featured Cory Doctorow’s Little Brother; another Florida school district removed John Green’s Paper Towns from a reading list; and a middle school in California banned another John Green novel, The Fault in Our Stars.
It’s obvious that CBLDF needs to keep fighting for the right to read, and we’re able to do that thanks to all of our Members, Retail Members, Corporate Members, artist supporters, volunteers, our partners in free speech advocacy, and all of the people who contribute at conventions and other events. We’re grateful for the ongoing support of the comics community. Without you, we couldn’t keep up the fight! Thank you!
Get in the Spirit of Giving! Help support CBLDF’s important First Amendment work by visiting the Rewards Zone, making a donation, or becoming a member of CBLDF! When you support CBLDF’s Spirit of Giving drive, The Will & Ann Eisner Family Foundation will make a contribution of $2 for every donation and gift order placed on CBLDF’s website, and they will contribute $10 for each new membership and $5 for every renewing membership made by December 31!