Christopher Pike Spiked. Escondido (Calif.) Union School District trustees voted unanimously July 15 to pull 25 novels by Christopher Pike from the shelves of the district's elementary and middle school libraries, the Associated Press reported July 20. The ban follows the school board's removal of three of Pike's books last year, after which a committee of parents and educators was organized to examine additional works by the popular author for young adults.
According to the July 14 Alameda Times-Star, the committee recommended the removal of all 28 titles because of references to sex, violence, and teen use of drugs and alcohol. "I have a hard time banning books," said trustee Linda Woods, who said she was reluctant to vote to remove the books until she read them and was shocked by their graphic content.
Holocaust-Diaries Challenge Dropped. A vow from Canal Winchester, Ohio, school officials to encourage parental involvement in their children's education has motivated Douglas and Paula Ewart to drop their effort to remove Children in the Holocaust and World War II: Their Secret Diaries from the shelves of the middle school.
The couple, whose 10-year-old daughter had borrowed the book, had been displeased with a materials-review committee's May 7 decision to retain the book but restrict 4th-, 5th-, and 6th-graders from checking it out (AL, June/July, p. 31). But Douglas Ewert told the August 7 Columbus Dispatch that he was relieved that the board was instructing school officials to allow library privileges only to students whose parents sign a consent form and to encourage parents to review their children's school-related reading.
On August 9, officials revised the district's challenge policy to emphasize that reviews "must be on the appropriateness of the material for its intended use" and that no subsequent complaints about the same item would be considered.
Adults-Only Shelf Banned. Antipornography activists in Cumberland County, North Carolina, have lost another round in their campaign to have the public library create an external selection committee as well as an adults-only shelf for material they deem pornographic. Their latest defeat came August 2 when county commissioners voted 4-2 to accept the open-access recommendations of the library board.
"Censorship doesn't work," commission member Tal Baggett declared. "It didn't work in 1933 for the Nazis, and it will not work here in Cumberland County 66 years later." After the meeting, which attracted 100 spectators on both sides of the issue, library-policy opponent George Boggs and policy supporter Paul Wilson debated outside the commissioners' chambers. "Who defines what's obscene?" Wilson asked. "Christians of this county will decide," …