Book Banning Rears its Head in Huntington Beach

Categories: School Daze
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.jpg
Aren't we all past this stuff? The Register's Annie Burris reports that last night's Huntington Beach city council meeting saw a former Westminster school district trustee reading aloud a graphic child-rape scene from Maya Angelou's autobiographical I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings.

Judy Ahrens
performed the reading and was joined in her effort by Ocean View School District Trustee John Briscoe. The point was to gross-out everyone to the point where the book could be banned from school libraries.

The really censorious thing is that they seem to be getting traction:

Briscoe and Ahrens did a similar reading of Angelou's book at an Oct. 13 Ocean View trustee meeting.

"Administration and other board members are unable or unwilling to take action to remove inappropriate material immediately," he said.

However, another Ocean View trustee Debbie Cotton told the Register that all five board members were shocked that the book was in the library after the reading. During the same meeting, the board directed Superintendent Alan Rasmussen to look into the matter.

"Clearly, this is just appalling," said Cotton of the book's contents. "I couldn't believe it when I was hearing it."

Cotton said the book can no longer be checked out from the library and is pending a committee's review. She said it takes one trustee or parent to request that the book be reviewed and that if Briscoe had not put in a request by the end of the week, she would do it.


Cotton added that library records show that the book had never been checked out. It is unclear how long the book was in the library, she said.

Yup, a book that's never been checked out from this library, a book that was nominated for a National Book Award and is considered a classic of African-American literature (or just American literature), has all of a sudden become threatening in Southern California, 2009.

In 2007, parents in rural Pennslyvania tried to ban the same book but failed. And it ranks number three on the American Library Association's list of the most frequently challenged books of 1990-2000. Phew. It looks like we're only one decade behind, here.

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