Here we go again. Another school district is trying to ban a critically acclaimed book from its curriculum.
his time it's happening in Geraldine, where a challenge has been issued to "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian," by Sherman Alexie. The book about a Native American boy's experiences when he leaves his reservation to pursue a better education at a mostly white school is the 2007 winner of the prestigious National Book Award for youth literature and is on the reading list at many middle schools and high schools. It's just the sort of book our students should be reading.
The ACLU of Montana sent a letter today to the Geraldine School Board pointing out the importance of instilling in children an appreciation for their constitutional rights. Removing the book would teach a bad lesson.
"When class reading lists are censored, we teach our students a harmful lesson." writes ACLU of Montana Public Policy Director Niki Zupanic."We teach them that the objections of a few can limit the rights of others to speak freely and to access information. We teach them they are not capable of learning to think for themselves and to make discerning, considered and well-thought-out decisions. These are lessons we cannot support."
The ACLU takes challenges to intellectual freedom and the First Amendment very seriously. Learn more about our work on banned books.
UPDATE 2/9/2012: The Geraldine School Board decided yesterday evening to retain the book in its curriculum. Fabulous news!