Anatomy of a Book Controversy

By Wayne Homstad | Go to book overview

CHAPTER TWO
PROCESSING THE
CONTROVERSY

On the day after the Community Input Session, the superintendent met with the director and the coordinator. The superintendent assigned responsibility for handling the controversy to the director. The director then wrote a memo to the middle school principals that stated the steps that already had been taken to resolve the controversy. He wrote in part:

We are reviewing it [ Go Ask Alice] per policy 6144, page 3. Dr. Roberts [the superintendent] has directed that the book not be used for instruction in the interim.... This is not a complaint about a library book under policy 6163.1. The book need not be removed from the library if it is part of the collection.

Policy 6144 applies to the use of supplementary books. Policy 6163 applies to library books.

This memo to the middle school principals is significant for three reasons. First, the director limited the scope of the parent protest to supplemental texts. This meant that the controversy about the novel's use had nothing to do with regular textbooks or with books that compose the library collection. The effect of this limitation was to allow the librarians to place the book back on the library shelves for general circulation.

Second, by defining the controversy in terms of Policy 6144, the director was highlighting a set of procedures that differ from

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