HIGHLAND PARK (CBSDFW.COM) – The Highland Park ISD superintendent has changed his mind and removed a ban from several recently suspended books. Superintendent Dr. Dawson Orr stated Sunday that some titles which were temporarily banned will be restored to the approved reading list.
The books which had been banned include:
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— “The Art of Racing in the Rain” by Garth Stein
— “The Working Poor: Invisible in America” By David K. Shipler
— “Siddhartha” By Herman Hesse
— “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” By Sherman Alexie
— “An Abundance of Katherines” By John Green
— “The Glass Castle: A Memoir” By Jeannette Walls
— “Song of Solomon” By Toni Morrison
Parents and alumni caused the books to be banned after they complained that the books contain explicit sex scenes and references to rape, abuse, homosexuality and abortion.
“There was essentially a series of emails — and, by that, I believe hundreds of emails — from parents, community members and alumni,” Orr stated about the complaints. “In those emails, the request was actually made for the formal removal of various titles.”
In banning the books, Orr had said that it was a “coordinated” and “genuine” effort to remove the books from the reading list, but that the decision to do so was not final.
“I made the decision in an attempt to de-escalate the conflict, and I readily admit that it had the opposite effect,” Orr said. “I take full responsibility for the decision, and I apologize for the disruption it has caused.”
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A committee of parents, teachers and students took several months to review the books. The book “The Art of Racing in the Rain” by Garth Stein is still being challenged. Orr said that a committee will be appointed to review the book.
In addition, Orr stated that more information will be provided about books with potentially objectionable material. Permission forms may even be sent home to make sure that parents are aware of the literature that their child is reading.
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