Books and Teachers Under Attack

Last week I reported on efforts to ban SPEAK in CA, and TWISTED in KY and PA. Thankfully, all of the attempts to remove the books were defeated.

This week, things are worse.

Teachers at Montgomery High School in Mt. Sterling, KY have been banned from wearing Banned Books Week tee-shirts that feature a quote from To Kill A Mockingbird. 6pm update: after a meeting today that included an Educational Association representative (which I think means union) at the table, the tee-shirt ban was lifted.


(Yes, that is where they tried to ban TWISTED, UNWIND, LESSONS OF A DEAD GIRL, DEADLINE, THE RAPTURE OF CANAAN, WHAT MY MOTHER DOESN’T KNOW and WHAT MY GIRLFRIEND DOESN’T KNOW)

The rationale for the ban was that wearing the shirts constituted political activity.

God, I wish I was making this up. But I am not. I will post a link to news coverage of this horrifying nightmare as soon as it is available.

Other book banning notes:

John Green blogged about parent demands in Leesburg, FL, that tighter restrictions be put on 40 books in the public library, included LOOKING FOR ALASKA. Be sure to watch the replay of John’s vlog, "I Am Not A Pornographer." Genius.

Lee Wind has an EXCELLENT roundtable discussion with Ellen Hopkins, E. Lockhart, Jo Knowles, Jacqui Robbins, Sarah Brannan, and Frank Portman about challenges to their books. Read Part 1 now!

What can we do to protect books and readers and teachers and librarians?

If you live in Central New York, you can go to the Onondaga County Public Library at 5:30-7:30pm tonight to listen to Sonya Sones talk about her experience with book banning.

Read this wonderful interview with Chris Crutcher. Heed his advice about how to deal with censorship: "Never be intimidated.  The loud voices for censorship actually represent a very small number of people.  Judge yourself by your enemies as much as you judge yourself by your friends."

YALSA has some great suggestions on its blog.

If you don’t have book banning attempts in your community, take the time to thank your local school superintendent and library board for their intelligent understanding of the Constitution. If you do have challenges to books in your community, speak out loudly.

And last, some wonderful news for a change: attendance records at the National Book Festival were shattered as more than 130,000 book lovers turned out to listen to authors in Washington, DC.

14 Replies to “Books and Teachers Under Attack”

  1. I will wear my “I Read Banned Books” T-shirt with pride today – and will be writing letters to thank my local school system that they are (currently) not the idiots they could be. I will also write a letter to the principal of Montgomery HS.

    We live with the amount of idiocy that we allow – and I refuse to allow this idiocy to pass by quietly. I will do my best to stop it wherever and whenever I see it.

    Thank you for putting a spotlight on this for us.

  2. I really like “I Am Not A Pornographer” as a statement against book banning (and for common sense, but that’s another matter…). It’s long been a favorite vlogbrothers video.

    I wish you were making this up, too.

    Thanks for the updates. Makes me grateful that we never had such a stink raised at the school I attended. I’m wearing my “I read banned books” button today.

  3. Re: political activity in skool

    Our skool has decided to make all teachers re-submit movies to be viewed in the classroom and their curriculum rationale after two teachers showed “Fahrenheit 9/11” and “An Inconvenient Truth.” Gee, fear of politics much?!

  4. Stand up for the right to read, fellow librarians, writers, and readers everywhere! Thanks for promoting OCPL’s event, Laurie 🙂 I’m reading from Twisted at 11:50 today, with pride.

  5. I’m actually kind of shocked about Montgomery Co. High School…I should probably go on to say that I live in the area and visited Montgomery Co. High School several times(I was in their library just last week) and never suspected that they would have those sort of issues with book banning. I’m definitely going to ask some of the students there next time we have an academic match and how they feel about it. Honestly, their administration isn’t known for being controversial so I’m really surprised coming from a nearby community.

  6. I gave my students the challenge to go out and read as many banned/challenged books as they could this week! I have never seen them so excited about a book assignment. =D It has given us a lot of great stuff to talk about.

  7. My favorite part of John Green’s video?

    “Shut up and stop condescending to teenagers.”

    The way he says it is just priceless.

  8. I’m glad Downingtown was settled. I’m pissed about all the other places you’re getting banned. And I’m both angered and amused that I got banned from a school at the start of Banned Book Week.

    The idea that anyone could call an amazing book like SPEAK pornographic just staggers me.

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