Monday, January 2, 2012

School Board considers ban of 'The Kite Runner'

Posted By on Mon, Jan 2, 2012 at 2:59 PM

The book banners never sleep. I've received a note that the Valley View School Board in Jonesboro will meet at 5:30 p.m. today while others watch football games to consider two complaints from school district residents about the teaching of "The Kite Runner" to honors English classes. As you might know, "good Christians" do not countenance literature that presents Muslim people in anything but an unflattering light.

We reported on this controversy earlier. The ACLU is keeping watch. Some School Board members had taken a "middle ground." Let the book be read, but not aloud.

A note from ASU professor Norm Stafford and ACLU Board member about tonight's meeting. There's still time to join the throng on the side of free expression:

I am writing to urge you to attend a special meeting of the Valley View School Board tonight, Monday, January 2nd at 5:30 pm, at the office of the superintendent on the Valley View campus.

The Board will decide on the complaints of two patrons opposing the teaching of Khaled Hosseneini’s The Kite Runner to senior English classes. The book has won numerous awards and is a novel recounting the redemption of a man, who as a young boy witnessed his male friend being sexually assaulted and out of fear did nothing. The novel provides insight into modern Afghanistan and the effects of war on the area and its people as well as into the brutal Taliban.

Although the central goal of those complaining is to eliminate this single text from the curriculum, they have support of strong religious forces in the area and want a homogenized curriculum. In a story in the Jonesboro Sun , one of those complaining said that students’ belief that America is one country under God would be undermined by reading the novel.

The teacher, whose abilities I know and respect, has taught the novel in the past, and now her job is at stake.

The announcement for this called meeting appeared on page 7 of the Sun on December 31st. It appears that the Valley View Board and those opposing the teaching of the novel want the issue addressed with as little publicity as possible.

Those opposing the teaching of the novel will be out in force. Those wishing to prevent this censorship need to be present as well. Please let others know of this meeting and its time and place.


Norman Stafford

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