Minnesota: Parents in New London-Spicer School District Want Sherman Alexie’s “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” Removed From Curriculum
UPDATED POST June 14: Minnesota School Board Votes 3-2 to Keep Book in the Classroom (via Grand Forks Herald)
In a 3-2 vote Monday the central Minnesota school board agreed to follow the recommendation of the school administration and allow “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” to remain as an option for teachers to use in the classroom.
The action doesn’t mean the book must be part of the curriculum, but that teachers can use it if they choose.
From Minnesota Public Radio:
In west-central Minnesota, the New London-Spicer School District provides an alternative lesson plan when parents object to a book being discussed in class. The objecting students leave the room and study somewhere else.
At issue now is the 2007 book, “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” by Sherman Alexie.
This week, a couple of parents told the school board the alternative lesson plan isn’t good enough — it amounted to “punishment” for their kids, they said — and they want the book removed from the eighth-grade curriculum. They say the book features “gratuitous and unnecessary” profanity and reference to sexual acts, the West Central Tribune reports.
During a brief listening session Monday at the NLS School Board meeting, two individuals read prepared statements citing their objections to the book and asked that it be removed from the students’ required reading list.
In his comments, Carroll Sarsland said “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” should be replaced with a book that “does not contain passages that conflict with the traditional family values held by many in this community.”
As is the case with all issues presented during the public comment period, the School Board did not respond to the issue at the meeting but provided forms for the individuals to fill out as part of the process for the district to consider removal of material from the curriculum or library.
Once those official forms are returned, they will be reviewed by the district’s advisory committee, which includes parents, teachers and school administrators.
About Gary Price
Gary Price (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com. Gary is also the co-founder of infoDJ an innovation research consultancy supporting corporate product and business model teams with just-in-time fact and insight finding.