7 Books Challenged On The Eve Of Banned Books Week
You'd think that this whole Banned Books Week business would be beating a dead horse. Who bans books anymore?
It turns out that horse is far from dead, and it is, in fact, rampaging all around Highland Park Independent School District in Dallas, TX like some sort of crazed, undead horse of moral justice.
Last month, more than 100 citizens packed a school board meeting, many of them with copies of books selected for Highland Park ISD reading lists. According to one article, they then read aloud passages that contained "sex scenes, references to homosexuality, a description of a girl’s abduction and a passage that criticized capitalism."
A reference to the mere existence of homosexuality is one thing, but I draw the line when it comes to criticizing capitalism. Even though it would appear that the criticism of capitalism likely comes from the title The Working Poor: Invisible in America, a book about the unfortunate fact that a person can work full-time in the United States and still be below the poverty line, a stance that seems 100% legitimate.
With their out-of-context quotes highlighted and marked, the meeting ended with a decision to suspend seven titles (The Art of Racing in the Rain, The Working Poor: Invisible in America, Siddhartha, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, An Abundance of Katherines, The Glass Castle: A Memoir, and Song of Solomon) from the school's reading list pending a review by committees of parents, teachers, and students.
The opinions are all over the map, but are summed up well by a couple people. First, high school English teacher Darcy Young:
Our motto is to prepare the child for the path, not prepare the path for the child.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the coin, one parent asked that the English Department promote classics as opposed to the young adult fiction, as she feels classics can address the same topics with cleaner language and without having to "dumb down" literature.
It is important to note that this isn't a ban. Not entirely, anyway. What's being discussed is the removal of books from the curriculum, not from the hands of students. While students wouldn't study these in a classroom setting, they would be free to read them on their own and unguided.
High school books. What do you think? Should parents decide what does and does not belong on the curriculum? Are students harmed when they study these titles?
To leave a comment