Stockton Book Ban Upheld 7-0 in Packed Public Forum

Stockton MO -- The Stockton Missouri school board voted unanimously Wednesday night to uphold its April decision to ban a book from the school curriculum. The 7-0 vote came after a public forum about the novel, "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian" by Sherman Alexie.

The board also voted, 7-2, against a proposal to return the book to the high school library with restrictions.

Board member Rod Tucker said his main concern was the book's language, that it had too much profanity to be of value. He rejected the argument that most kids are familiar with such language and use it regularly. [ed- note to Rod Tucker: don't forget you live in the 'show me' state]

Supporters of the book said it was chosen to get high school boys, particularly, interested in reading. Another board member said that was a mistake because the book's reading level is low for high school readers. "We're dumbing down our educational standards if we do that," Ken Spurgeon said.

Cheryl Marcum, a resident who had pushed the board to explain and reverse its decision, was disappointed by the vote. She said she's heard about the issue from young people who have left Stockton.

"They said, 'I left Stockton because stuff like that happens there,'" she said.


That's a great book. Thank the gods I'm not from there.

Was Deborah Caldwell-Stone there? If so, was she involved? Did she provide testimony? If so, the OIF is losing its touch.

From Fiels's "Report to Council and Executive Board" dated Sept 10:

In addition, Deputy Director Deborah Caldwell-Stone will travel to Stockton, Missouri on September 8 to provide testimony on the importance of intellectual freedom in the school library for a public hearing. The hearing will address the Stockton school board’s decision to remove Sherman Alexie’s award-winning young adult novel, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, from the high school curriculum.


Board voted 5-2 against retaining book in library, not 7-2. Deborah Caldwell-Stone was allowed to speak during a 10 minute commentary period after 22 other scheduled speakers presented 3-minute speeches, 12 against the ban, 10 in favor. Caldwell-Stone clarified and expanded on observations made by those in favor of the ban referring to the original opinions of the 1982 Pico case, informing the audience and Board on the results of the appellate ruling. Caldwell-Stone produced an thorough and effective argument, but unfortunately the BOE demonstrated that their decision was not going to be reversed throughout the public forum.

Thanks - Any Video Would Be Appreciated, such as a link to a YouTube video, etc.


No, it's NOT a great book. Our kids don't need to be reading things with profanity and lewd content. Why can't we just choose appropriate books for school classes? Or allow alternatives so not everyone is forced to read it?

The usual arguments:

> "Great" is in the eye of the beholder.
> Professional ethics don't allow for us to chose our personal "great" because we'd be overstepping our authority
> In Washington, Alexie is writing about regional issues of class and race that affect the patron base directly much as he's writing about masturbation, and local interest should be a part of any collection development.
> If you have a collection development policy, then follow the damn thing, but it probably mean you get books you don't like.
> If we were to take out all the "vile" content, there goes the Rohl Dahl, Shel Silverstein and Shakespeare. Even in a school library that, by nature, has to have greater restrictions on content due to space, patron age, and the need to keep current I'd like to keep those.

Something isn't labeled "not a great book" because it has profanity and lewd content. Life isn't pretty, kids cuss, kids "pleasure themselves", kids have horrible lives sometimes, literature needs to reflect this if it is going to ring true to them.

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