CBLDF has joined a coalition led by the Kids’ Right to Read Project to protest the actions taken at Lincoln High School in Leon County, Florida, where Principal Allen Burch violated school policy by bypassing committee review and pulled The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time from the school’s summer reading program.
CBLDF joins coalition efforts like these to protect the freedom to read comics. Censorship manifests in many ways, and the unique visual nature of comics makes them more prone to censorship than other types of books. Taking an active stand against all instances of censorship curbs precedent that could adversely affect the rights upon which comics readers depend.
The book is told from the perspective of an autistic 15-year-old Christopher John Francis Boone, who is determined to solve the mysterious death of his neighbor’s dog. Although the award-winning book has received critical acclaim, some parents in the community sent complaints about profanity and “religious skepticism” in the book to Principal Burch, who then made the ad hoc decision to simply pull the book from the school’s summer reading list without consulting a review committee per policy. His reason: He wanted to “give the opportunity for the parents to parent.”
District policy does not allow for materials to be removed in this manner. And, as the KRRP letter notes, the policy also states that “no challenged material may be removed solely because it presents ideas that may be unpopular or offensive to some.” KRRP writes:
The decision to remove the book cannot be based on several words taken out of context. Any additional religiously based objections are not a permissible ground for removal either since public schools are prohibited from privileging specific religious beliefs, or religion in general.
KRRP has demanded that the book be reinstated and the district’s review policy be followed. The entirety of KRRP’s letter follows.