April 3, 2014

Idaho school district votes to remove Sherman Alexie novel

Associated Press
 

MERIDIAN, Idaho (AP) — Trustees at the Meridian School District in southwest Idaho have voted to remove an award winning novel after some parents complained.

The Idaho Statesman reported on Wednesday that trustees voted 2-1 to keep in place a hold on “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” by Sherman Alexie.

The National Book Award winning novel is narrated by a 14-year-old whose transfer makes him the only Native American in an all-white school. Objections are based on discussions of sex, abuse, alcoholism, or on racist or profane statements from some characters.

A committee had recommended the book stay on the 10th grade English supplemental reading list, with students required to get parental permission to read it. But the board rejected that idea.

Trustees listened to more than two hours of public comments.

“It is the very idea that our education is being censored,” said Mountain View High School student Brady Kissel, who brought a petition with 350 signatures asking the board to keep the book.

But most speakers, more than 100, wanted the book banned.

Lonnie Stiles said the book forces children to encounter words “we do not speak in our home.”

Meridian teacher Stacy Lacy defended keeping the book, saying it appeals to many teenagers. Lacy gave the example of one boy in summer school who didn’t like reading books and spent more time using his cellphone.

Lacy said when he got the book he “devoured it and passed the class.”

Elsewhere in southwest Idaho, the Boise School District has 32 copies of the book scattered in junior high and high schools. The Nampa School District has the book at Nampa and Skyview high school.

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