Tuesday, July 9, 1996
Lindale School District Bans 32 Books, Including
By Associated Press
LINDALE, Texas (AP) - The school board in a small East Texas town
has banned 32 books on an advanced placement English reading list
because a trustee said the books "conflicted with the values
of the community."
The Lindale Independent School District board voted Monday unanimously
to ban the books, including many classics such as "The Adventures
of Huckleberry Finn," "To Kill a Mockingbird,"
"The Scarlet Letter" and "Moby Dick."
The board also directed school administrators to assemble a "suitable"
reading list to replace the banned books. A recently formed book
committee will then approve the new list.
The committee, which consists of parents and teachers, was created
in June after concerns were raised about the appropriateness of
the books which had already been approved by a teacher in charge
of the English department.
Some of the books offended many school board members and parents
because they contained profanity and described explicit sex acts,
according to board president John Offutt, a Baptist minister.
Offutt, who said the book banning is "no one's personal agenda"
and said they want the reading list to be based in the moral values
of the community.
"The House of Spirits" by Isabel Allende is "pornography"
that explicitly described necrophilia, a parent said.
"I believe that some of this books would contribute or do
contribute to the demoralization of today's youth," said
Cheryl Van Haselen.
Many of the banned books were especially not suited for 15 to
16 year-old boys, said trustee Gary Camp.
"We're turning our young men into ticking time bombs,"
Offutt, pastor of Prairie Creek Baptist Church, said the board's
action was an attempt to make students adhere to Christian beliefs
and was not a result of any personal agenda.
The book banning was not greeted with enthusiasm by all parents.
Some said it denied students freedom of choice and would ultimately
impair their education.
One citizen claimed a book committee member based her opinions
on "what Jesus would or wouldn't read" and considered
that opinion very presumptuous.
Offutt said the board is prepared to take any criticism its action
might prompt because trustees believed they were protecting traditional
Lindale has a population of about 2,000 and is located about 20
miles north of Tyler in East Texas.
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