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PEOPLE Make a world of difference ! Were proud of our employees and their contributions to your success and ours.. Call us for quality printing,. binding, mailing and data processing services. Get to know the people at Futura. FUTUM P.O. Box 17427 Austin, TX 78760-7427 389-1500 COMMUNICATIONS, INC promotes an unhealthy view of family life,” that “Vasilissa the Beautiful” by Post Wheeler “depicts abuse and unfairness to children” and “promotes the idea of magical powers, cannibalism and witchcraft,” and that “The Devoted Friend” by Oscar Wilde “is about manipulation and taking advantage of those who display kindness.” After two different review committees denied their request for removal of the series, the objectors appealed to the school board, which unanimously voted to keep the series. In Houston, parents objected to The Ice Cream Cone and Other Rare Birds by Arnold Lobel, available in an elementary school library, for containing drawings that allegedly could cause children to commit unsafe acts. The superintendent upheld a review committee’s decision to keep the book. In Houston’s Spring School District, parents objected to Chance, Luck and Destiny by Peter Dickinson, available in an elementary school library, for allegedly being a “how-to book on occultic practices for children.” While six members of the review committee voted to keep the book, six voted to move it to the middle and high school libraries, to which the superintendent agreed. In Huntsville, a parent objected to profanity and “depictions of sex” in The Valley of the Horses by Jean Auel, recommended by the American Library Association and available in a high school library. The objector never made a formal complaint. In Irving, a parent objected to Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank, in a ninth-grade English class, for containing allegedly racist material. The objector noted the use of the word, “nigger,” early in the story, which is set in the South after the Civil War. Rather than remove the book, an appeals board recommended that a lesson on the history of the period be taught to provide context for the book, which remains in use. In Leakey, parents objected to ABZ Book by Shel Silverstein, available in the kindergarten through 12th-grade library, for allegedly encouraging disobedience in children. The superintendent, without reading the book, ordered the material removed from the library, in apparent violation of district policy. In Leakey, a school district official objected to Run Shelly Run by Gertrude Samuels, available in a high school library, for foul language and homosexual situations. Rather than refer the complaint to a review committee, as is stipulated by the district’s reconsideration policy, the superintendent called in each member of the school board and showed them passages from the book. The board later decided to remove the book, although the superintendent later admitted he had never read the book. In Leakey, a parent objected to Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself by Judy Blume, available in an elementary school library, on the grounds it contained profanity and wording that encourages questioning elders. The librarian and the superintendent reviewed the book and decided it was acceptable. It remains on the library shelf. In Lubbock, a parent objected to Stone Words: A Ghost Story by Pam Conrad, in an elementary school library, for allegedly being morbid, containing “New Age theology,” being “anti-religion” and not promoting family values. Stone Words was selected for thirdthrough sixth-graders by Texas librarians, educators and parents as part of the Texas Bluebonnet program, which encourages children to read and develop higher thinking skills. A review committee voted to retain the book. One committee member noted, “Students like to read this kind of book … They ask us time and time again for scary books in our libraries … it’s a very safe and controlled way to scare themselves.” Another committee member said the book had stirred at least one non-reader to start reading. In Lufkin, community members objected to Phenomena by Henry Billings and Disasters by Dan Dramer, supplemental reading for a seventh-grade class, for allegedly teaching cult practices, frightening children and leading to depression and suicide. The district superintendent upheld a review committee’s decision to remove Phenomena and retain Disasters. An objection later was made to Heroes, the book that replaced Phenomena, because it contained a segment on Gandhi, but no formal complaint was filed. \(Some of the objeCtors were members of the Eagle Forum and others reported attending a cult awareness seminar shortly before lodging their objections. Some did not have children in the seventh grade and others did not have In Odessa, a parent objected to Tex by, S .E. Hinton, available in the kindergarten through sixth-grade library, for profanity and a passage that mentions smoking “funny cigarettes.” Instead of going through the formal complaint process, the objector apparently checked out the book and refused to return it to the library, opting instead to pay for the lost book. It is not yet clear whether the library will replace the book. In Refugio, a local ministerial alliance objected to “The Butterfinger’s Angel,” a play to be performed at a high school, on the grounds that it was blasphemous, portrayed the Virgin Mary negatively and as a prostitute, portrayed Joseph as a sadist, was degrading to women, promoted family dysfunction and rebellion and undermined religious teachings. Some of the objectors admitted they had never read the play. The superintendent immediately cancelled the production. A student cast member said the play did not contradict Scripture, but merely presented a familiar story from a humorous point of view. The school principal refused to allow a cast member to write an article about the cancellation in the school newspaper and the faculty director resigned, citing the incident as part of the reason. In San Antonio, a parent objected to On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer, available in a fourth-grade classroom library, for mentioning a character who chews gum. A review committee decided to keep the book, but objectors reportedly have been circulating a petition against books containing profanity at birthday parties, church events and museums. In Victoria, parents and a student objected to Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume, available in the elementary school library, for profanity. The principal ordered the book moved to the teachers’ shelf of the library, where it is available to students with parental permission. One objector told the librarian she intended to examine every Judy Blume book in the collection and remove any objectionable material. Some of these objections may be warranted and helpful, but particularly in smaller towns it is easier for a principal to take a book off the shelf than to put up a fight against an offended parent or a group of ministers. These days it takes a brave teacher or librarian to stand up in favor of freedom of expression, making it all the more important that good people in the community back them up. J.C. Interested in collecting the art of the Texas Observer? The Texas Observer is now offering velox reproductions of its covers for just $10. If you are interested in beginning a collection, contact Stephan Wanstrom at 477-0746. 4 SEPTEMBER 18, 1992 ,:vhniV110. Vet ,”