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TDC Letter to AC Schools 5-15-12

TDC Letter to AC Schools 5-15-12

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Published by: ncacensorship on May 16, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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 May 15, 2012Members of the School BoardAnnville-Cleona School District520 South White Oak StreetAnnville, Pennsylvania 17003anaylor@acschools.org Dear Members of the Annville-Cleona School Board:We write to express concern about the decision to remove
The Dirty Cowboy
, by AmyTimberlake and Adam Rex, from school libraries in Annville-Cleona and urge you toreturn the book to the library. We understand that the book was challenged by onestudent’s parents who objected to the whimsical drawings of a cowboy taking a bath. Theobjection was to “nudity” in the book, although sensitive areas of the body are notdepicted.Simple nudity is fully protected by the First Amendment. There is no salacious orsexually suggestive content in the book – it is merely an amusing story of a cowboytaking his annual bath, getting even dirtier in the process. As the Supreme Court hasobserved on numerous occasions, “ ‘nudity alone’ does not place otherwise protectedmaterial outside the mantle of the First Amendment,”
Osborne v. Ohio
(1990), and this isequally true in school libraries and art museums. Otherwise a book about the noted artistNorman Rockwell containing his work 
 No Swimming,
which depicts scantily cladbathers, could be removed, along with books about Native Americans or other indigenouscultures, storybooks about the Bible depicting Adam and Eve or Christ on the Cross, andart history books containing images from Michelangelo’s
Sistine Chapel
or Botticelli’s
 Birth of Venus.
 In short, “nudity” on its own is not a sufficient basis for removal of a book from a publicschool library. School officials are bound by constitutional considerations, including aduty not to give in to pressure to suppress language or images deemed controversial oroffensive by some. The Supreme Court has cautioned that school officials “may notremove books from library shelves simply because they dislike the ideas contained inthose books and seek by their removal to ‘prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics,nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion.’”
 Board of Education v. Pico
, 457 U.S.853, 872 (1982)(plurality opinion). This constitutional duty applies with particular forcein the school library, which, unlike the classroom, has “a special role...as a place where

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