Superintendent Apologizes for Banning "Bless Me, Ultima"


Anonymous Patron writes "This isn't really library related, but in Norwood, Colorado, a small town west of Telluride, the school superintendent banned the use of Rudolfo Anaya's "Bless Me, Ultima" in the 96-student high school. He admitted to not having read the book; he only read a small section containing profanity that a parent pointed out to him. He said, "It's less a matter of censorship than a matter of sponsorship. That's not the kind of garbage I want to sponsor at this high school." The teacher who purchased the two dozen copies was forced to write an apology to the school community. The superintendent handed over the books to a parent who planned to "destroy" them (they now say they were put in the trash and are now somewhere in the landfill.)

The district school board brought to the superintendent's attention that there is a written policy to be followed in such cases, a policy he ignored. So now he's the one apologizing.

The original story and The latest outcome"


I'm glad he was forced to apologize, and hope he does pay for the books out of his own pocket.

Boy things sure have changed. Back when I was a high school student, if I went on some moral crusade and illegally took school property and destroyed it, especially multiple copies, I'd have been either suspended or expelled. I think the expulsion was more likely.

Meanwhile, I'm sure he'll issue on of those "non apology apologies" that reads something along the lines of "Mistakes were made in the handling of these matter and I'm deeply sorry if these actions offended anyone." Translation: "I'm not admitting to a damn thing and if you were offended, you're obviously stupid."

He broke what is probably a long standing disctrict policy. He took school materials that were not his. That's stealing. He transfered them to a third party. That's transfering stolen goods. That third party destroyed them. On his part, that's aiding in the destruction of public property. Now, if any of us did that, we'd go to jail. All he needs do is apologize? Like I said before, fire this jerk.

That's a little strong, Dragon.

Censors should read the whole book before acting. Gripy parents should read the whole book before acting. Teachers should know the district's policy before the books get taken out of class, not long afterwards.

I hope the school board doesn't renew this guy's contract, and I hope it makes a statement that one parent can't have this sort of influence on what a whole class gets to read.

Nah, I disagree. Dragon is right. Our man will be shielded from his basic wrongdoing. He stole public property and tried to have it destroyed. Because of his own narrow-mindedness and ego, he broke the law. Censors should never get away when their crimes are exposed. It is one thing to burn one's own book; it is another to be a thief and to steal from the public. This man is a jackass who is no longer fit to call himself an educator. The only thing he deserves is a public shaming.

For Shame, sir. For shame!

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