Victory in Delaware’s Indian River School District! Following a letter sent last week by CBLDF and other members of the National Coalition Against Censorship, school board president Charles Bireley last night withdrew his challenge to The Miseducation of Cameron Post.
A review committee already unanimously recommended returning the book to library shelves at Sussex Central High School, but Bireley had appealed that decision to his own board. According to the local newspaper, many parents attended the earlier part of last night’s meeting to argue both for and against banning the book. Margie Cyr, chairwoman of the Delaware Library Association’s Intellectual Freedom Committee, was there to point out that the book about a teen coming to grips with her sexual orientation is undoubtedly relevant to the real-life experiences of some students in the district: “I believe there are lesbians that attend Indian River High School. I believe there are some times when students use the big ‘F’ word.”
The crowd apparently dissipated while the board was in executive session, however; when Bireley finally agreed no vote would be held, that announcement was made to “a room of one reporter and a bunch of folded tables and chairs.” Bireley acknowledged that pressing forward with his challenge was futile because “look at what happens to other school districts and what the [American Civil Liberties Union] does.” Considering that the ACLU of Delaware was one of the signatories on the letter sent to the district last week, we will take that to mean that our coalition message made an impression on Bireley and he now has a better understanding of students’ free speech rights!
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Contributing Editor Maren Williams is a reference librarian who enjoys free speech and rescue dogs.