Sunday, December 16, 2007

SANDPIPER Redux

Way back on September 12 on this blog, there was an entry about a challenge to Ellen Wittlinger's excellent novel, SANDPIPER in Tuscaloosa County, Alabama. Well, the results are in. The Tuscaloosa County school board has spoken, albeit out of both sides of its mouth.

You can read the news article here:

http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/article/20071211/NEWS/712110305/1007

In many ways, this challenge is typical of those we see all the time here at AS IF! The atypical part is that an amazing Alabama education professor named Lisa Scherff alerted us, the author, and the media, and also made sure that lots of supporters of intellectual freedom showed up at the school board's meetings. Clearly, the board would gladly have buried this case, but that's much harder to do when America is watching. Nicely done, Lisa!

Here is the most important thing about this decision, though: it shows you how strongly the case law favors keeping challenged books IN school libraries. Reading the article, it is abundantly clear that the school board president would have LOVED to make SANDPIPER disappear -- but the district's legal counsel advised the board that the _UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT_ has very clearly said, "No way, Jose!"

So there you have it: if you are trying to get a young adult book removed from a school library due to concerns over "mature content", you are violating the First Amendment rights of the school's students.

Which we've been saying all along.

7 Comments:

Blogger SafeLibraries.org said...

Jordan,

You said, "Here is the most important thing about this decision, though: it shows you how strongly the case law favors keeping challenged books IN school libraries."

I read various Sandpiper media articles carefully, and I could not find "how strongly the case law favors keeping challenged books IN school libraries." Rather, I only found conclusory statements, and they were based only on the opinion of a single local attorney.

Now I may have missed something. Could you please specify exactly where it explains "how strongly the case law favors keeping challenged books IN school libraries"? I don't mean where that conclusion appears, I mean where that issue is actually discussed in sufficient detail for one to conclude, as you say, "if you are trying to get a young adult book removed from a school library due to concerns over 'mature content', you are violating the First Amendment rights of the school's students." That statement sounds a little extreme to me.

Thanks.

10:18 PM  
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Blogger cvxv said...

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Blogger amira-la said...

YES!!! I agree, Jordan. That is exactly what you've been saying all along

6:05 PM  
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