Teacher ousted for banned book (CNN Video)
I taught Algebra last year, but during our advisory/reading period, we read this book. I didn't even take the precautionary step of sending home a permission slip as this teacher had! At first, even my students were taken aback by the direct, uncensored language. There were some snickers and laughs, but I told them quite plainly that this book contained some language that might be considered inappropriate, and that I expected them to act like young adults. If they couldn't handle it, we wouldn't read it. That stopped all of the problems right there, and we were able to read the entire book without incident.
I'm sure the first few pages is all these empty suits read before "banning" the book. Anyone who has actually read the book themselves, especially with a class, knows two key things:
- The "inappropriate" language tapers off quickly.
- This is one of the most inspirational and important books they've ever read.
I wholeheartedly recommend this book to any teacher that wants to truly engage their students.
Connie Heermann, the teacher who was suspended, is a hero in my book. She said she will not return to the classroom unless she's allowed to use the book. I admire her for standing by her principles, and fighting for the benefit of her students.
You can read some interesting local reactions to this situation in this post at the Advance Indiana blog.