January 15, 2009

Absolutely True Diary still banned

Book still suspended from Crook County classrooms

But the disputed work will be in the libraryThe award-winning book that was suspended from a Crook County High School classroom last month after a parent complained it was offensive, will remain out of the classroom until the school district can revamp its policies.

About 60 people turned out Monday night to the Crook County School Board meeting and about 15 testified about the book. The board then voted 4-1 to continue the temporary suspension, while making the book available to students in the library.

In December, Hank Moss picked up the book his 14-year-old son, Jozee, was reading for an English assignment. Moss said he was shocked by what he read in “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.” A few days after photocopying some pages of the book and showing them to school board members, the book was pulled from the classroom and school library.

A New York Times best-seller and a National Book Award winner, the book was written by Sherman Alexie and is about a boy growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation who decides to attend an all-white school. The protagonist in Alexie’s book discusses masturbation.

A committee made up of teachers, the public, an administrator and a librarian reviewed the book and voted 4-1 to recommend the school board reinstate the book without restrictions. School board members did not have to follow the committee’s recommendation.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see The Best Indian Books.

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