SpeakSpeak News


Committee Recommends Banning The Giver

Filed under by Chris Zammarelli — 04/21/2005 @ 10:06 am

A school district committee in Cedar Rapids, IA has recommended banning Lois Lowry’s The Giver from elementary schools after the parents of a 10-year-old student challenged the novel for its subject matter.

Shaun Holcomb, who with his wife Lorrie had brought forth the challenge, said they were trying to protect their son from the book’s content. “We weren’t trying to ban it from the whole school district or anything like that.”

Lorrie Holcomb added, “I think it’s going to show him that you should stand up for what you believe in. It’s going to show him his parents care about him.”

Teachers and students made an effort to keep the book in classrooms. Superintendent Dave Markward will decide whether or not to accept the committee’s decision. Thanks to LISNews.com for the link to this story.

Libraries Banned in Turkmenistan

Filed under by Chris Zammarelli — 04/21/2005 @ 9:57 am

An article linked to by LISNews.com reports that Turkmenistan President Saparmurat Niazov has banned libraries, saying, “No one goes to libraries and reads books anyway.” He also said that the only books Turkmen need, written by Niazov himself, should already be in every home. Turkmenbashi, the term Niazov goes by that means “father of all Turkmen,” has already banned circuses, opera and ballet from his country. He had previously ordered books by authors of classic Turkmen literature to be burned as they did not jibe with Niazov’s personal beliefs.

I (Heart) My [Censored]

Filed under by Amanda Toering — 04/21/2005 @ 9:26 am

Students in Minnesota are facing expulsion and being banned from their classrooms for wearing buttons referring to Eve Ensler’s play “The Vagina Monologues.” Buttons stating “I (heart) my vagina” (and the boys’ version, “I support your vagina” – which could have been worded in much poorer taste, considering) are at the heart of the debate.

School officials say the buttons are offensive.

“We support free speech,” Winona HS principal Nancy Wondrasch said. “But when it does infringe on other people’s rights and our school policies, then we need to take a look at that.”

Minnesota ACLU leader Charles Samuelson said he thinks the school leaders might be curtailing the girls’ free speech rights. While he agrees school officials can limit speech considered detrimental or dangerous, he points to a 1969 Supreme Court ruling. In that school First Amendment case, justices ruled administrators’ fear about how others might react is not enough to squelch rights.

“Free speech is a messy thing,” Samuelson said. “People need to understand that opinions that they are not comfortable with, or even opinions they disagree with, need to be allowed.”

Story at In-Forum.

Broadcasters Concerned by Anti-Indecency Push

Filed under by Chris Zammarelli — 04/21/2005 @ 7:14 am

I Want Media linked to two articles about the indency showdown. In the first piece, the Wall Street Journal reports that broadcasters meeting at the annual National Association of Broadcasters meeting want to right the current battle by the federal government to impose stricter fines on questionable content because if they don’t, the emboldened Congress would try to tackle cable and satellite networks next. Besides, as Clear Channel exec Mark Mays said, “Congress and the FCC have done a very poor job of explaining what indecency is.”

In the other article, the Washington Times reports on a Pew Center study that shows liberal Democrats are more likely to oppose tougher indecency standards, while conservative Republicans are more likely to support them. You knew this already, but it’s nice to have it in writing.

Whale Talk Banned in Alabama

Filed under by Chris Zammarelli — 04/21/2005 @ 6:07 am

Chris Crutcher’s Whale Talk was banned last month by the Limestone County (AL) Board of Education for containing profanity and racial epithets. Christi Brooks, the parent of a student at Ardmore High School, brought a challenge to the book because, although the book is about overcoming racism through teamwork, she felt it would actually encourage teenagers to use the offensive terms.

A committee that reviewed the book felt the book should not be banned, and Superintendent Barry Carroll supported that decision. However, the Board of Education still voted 4-3 to remove the book from schools. Board member James Shannon said his decision to support the ban had nothing to do with his niece being the person who brought forth the challenge. “If kids shouldn’t be saying it in the halls, they shouldn’t be reading it in our schools,” he said.

Grisham Challenged in Fargo

Filed under by Chris Zammarelli — 04/21/2005 @ 5:56 am

Ruth Walsh, the parent of a student at Fargo (ND) North High School, has asked the school to remove John Grisham’s A Time to Kill from an advanced reading class because it contained violent scenes of rape and murder. “Just because something is printed doesn’t mean it needs to be passed as literature,” she said, adding that if hey kids “couldn’t go to an R-rated movie without my permission, why can they read this book?”

The novel was being taught comparatively with To Kill a Mockingbird, as they both discuss racial issues dealt with during trials. Thanks to Michael Schaub from Blog of a Bookslut for linking to the article.

Dangerous Angels Too Dangerous for Students?

Filed under by Chris Zammarelli — 04/21/2005 @ 5:48 am

LISNews.com recently linked to this article about a woman in New Ipswich, NH who is trying to get Francesca Lia Block’s Dangerous Angels banned from Mascenic Regional High School. The school board agreed to hold a hearing on the book, which Vicki Manning said contained violence, profanity and sexual content. Penny Culliton, the teacher who is using the book at the high school, had once been fired for using books that parents found offensive. She later got her job back.

Alabama Considers Gay Book Ban

Filed under by Chris Zammarelli — 04/21/2005 @ 5:41 am

The Alabama legislature is considering a bill that would ban books with homosexual content. When asked what would happen to books that were banned if the law was passed, Gerald Allen, the state rep behind the bill, said, “I guess we dig a big hole and dump them in and bury them.” Soon after he introduced the bill, Allen received an invitation to meet with President Bush.

One of the books that would be banned under the law, incidentally, would be Sisters, a novel by Vice President Cheney’s wife Lynne. Thanks to LISNews.com for linking to the latest update.

Powered by WordPress