Dr. Ray Tolcacher, SuperintendentMaterials Reconsideration Committee MembersProsser School District1126 Meade Avenue, Suite AProsser, Washington 99350February 5, 2013Dear Dr. Tolcacher and Members of the Reconsideration Committee,We are writing in response to a recent challenge to the books
A Child Called “It”
byDavid Pelzer (HCI) and
The Popularity Papers
by Amy Ignatow (Amulet Books). Weunderstand that the books are being reconsidered by a district committee after a teacherfiled a complaint about the contents of these books and their treatment of child abuse andnon-traditional families, respectively.It is our understanding that
A Child Called “It”
is shelved in the Housel Middle Schoollibrary and can only be checked out by students with parental permission.
on the other hand, is housed at two elementary schools in the district but is onlyavailable to fifth grade students. This means that students are not required to read eitherbook and restrictions are
already in place to implement parents’ decisions about allowing
their children to read the books. To further restrict or remove these books becausesomeone objects to their content would curtail the rights of students wishing to read thesebooks and of parents who allow access.The First Amendment precludes public officials from suppressing ideas simply becausesome people find them offensive or controversial. The Supreme Court has cautioned thatschool officials "may not remove books from library shelves simply because they dislike
the ideas contained in those books and seek by their removal to ‘prescribe what shall beorthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion.’"
Board of Education v. Pico,
457 U.S. 853, 872 (1982)(plurality opinion). This constitutional dutyapplies with particular force in the school library, which, unlike the classroom, has "aspecial role...as a place where students may freely and voluntarily explore diversetopics."
Campbell v. St. Tammany Parish School Board
, 64 F. 3d 184, 190 (5th Cir.1995).