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KRRP Neverwhere Alamogordo

KRRP Neverwhere Alamogordo

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Published by ncacensorship

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Published by: ncacensorship on Oct 17, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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A project of theNational Coalition Against Censorship
American Booksellers Foundation for Free ExpressionAssociation of American PublishersComic Book Legal Defense Fund
19 Fulton Street, Suite 407, New York, NY 10038 212-807-6222 www.ncac.org/Kids-Right-to-Read
Kids’Right toReadProject
October 16, 2013Dr. George Straface, SuperintendentAlamogordo Public Schools
1211 Hawaii AveAlamogordo, NM 88310Dear Dr. Straface,We are writing concerning a recent challenge to Neil Gaiman’s
(Avon) in English classrooms in the Al-amogordo Public School District. We understand a parent of a student objects to language and a sexual situation in the book and that a committee is currently meeting to review the use of the book. We urge you to support the professional judgment of teachers and freedom to read of students and retain use of this book. Neil Gaiman is one of the best-known contemporary fantasy writers across media, and his works have garnered bothcritical acclaim and numerous awards, including the Bram Stoker award, as well as the Newbery and Carnegie medals.
has been taught in the district for nearly ten years, to hundreds of students and with great success. While ed-ucators across the country teach
because of its educational value and literary merit, the book is also a popular and proven tool for engaging reluctant readers. In its review,
 Library Journal 
recommended the book highly, stating that“Gaiman’s gift for mixing the absurd with the frightful give this novel the feeling of a bedtime story with adult sophistica-
tion. Readers will nd themselves as unable to escape this tale as the characters themselves.”
The language and situations in this work, as in any text under study, must be seen in the context of the entire work. Theethical and literary value of a work is distorted if one focuses only on particular words, passages, or segments. An author’s broad moral vision, total treatment of theme, and commitment to realistic portrayal of characters and dialogue are ignoredwhen protesters focus only on aspects that are offensive to them. While there may be shock value in isolating words andlisting selected passages from a book, this does not reveal anything about the fundamental message or theme in a work or 
 provide insight into its educational and literary qualities, which must be the focus of school ofcials responding to such
Alamogordo district policy regarding “Complaints and Challenges to Teaching Methods and Materials” plainly states
that, in the event of an objection to instructional materials: “an attempt will be made to resolve the challenge or complaint
informally” at the campus level and with school personnel. It is our understanding that no initial attempt at resolution was
made. Rather, the parent in question went directly to the district’s administration and the local media. When the complaint
was nally made known to the teacher in question, she willingly offered the student an alternate assignment. Despite this
fact and though the reevaluation of the book is still on-going, teachers were directed to stop teaching
mid-les-son, and to remove the book from classrooms.While parents are free to request an alternative assignment for their children, they have no right to impose their views onothers or to demand that otherwise educationally worthy materials be removed, merely because they consider them ob- jectionable, offensive, or inappropriate. To go further and remove the book potentially violates the constitutional rights of other students and parents. What’s more, the practical effect of acceding to any parent’s request to censor materials will be
to invite more challenges, and to leave school ofcials vulnerable to multiple, possibly conicting demands.

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