Banned Books Week: Our right to read, September 24-30, 2017

Case Study: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Wed, 09/30/2015 - 13:23 -- Maggie Jacoby

This case study is brought to you by our sponsor National Coalition Against Censorship.

An 'Absolutely True' Absurdity

You would think that when a school has a policy to review challenged books, those books would receive a fair hearing. Not so in Waterloo, Iowa. When a parent complained about profanity and references to sexuality in Sherman Alexie’s award-winning The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian in March 2015, administrators pulled the book from middle school classrooms. Teachers spoke out, calling for the district to adhere to policy and create a review committee. The school claimed that the parent's complaint wasn't actually a formal complaint, so they didn't need to follow their own rules. In the end, the superintendent shrugged her shoulders when confronted at a school board meeting, blamed the teachers for choosing the book and not informing parents, and basically said “It's done.”

You can read more about this case here.