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BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — A Brunswick County woman has appealed a school’s decision to keep a novel she objects to in the school’s curriculum.

Frances Wood of Ash filed an appeal with Brunswick County Schools Superintendent Dr. Edward Pruden Wednesday objecting to the Cedar Grove Middle School Media Advisory Committee’s decision to retain Sherman Alexie’s novel “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.”

In her appeal and attached e-mails regarding her complaint, Wood refers to the book as “filthy” and “pure sin” and complains about the use of racist and vulgar language.

“If any one of our children used basically these words to any other child at school it would be considered bullying and racist,” Wood wrote.

Click here to read the appeal

Click here to read documentation accompanying the appeal

Wood, who does not have a child or grandchild at the school, also implies in her correspondence that she and Cedar Grove principal Rhonda Benton attend the same church, and threatens to make this an issue within their church and around the county.

A school district spokeswoman said while the district’s procedures do not specify a designated response time, it is anticipated Pruden will review the appeal and issue a response within the next few weeks.

If Wood does not agree with Pruden’s decision, she can appeal to the full school board.

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12 Comments on "Brunswick Co. woman appeals school’s decision to keep book"

Teresa Lambe
2015 years 10 months ago

Here’s my favorite quote on book banning: “Where they have burned books, they will end in burning human beings.”

Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian is the winner of multiple awards, including the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature in 2007. Alexie’s characters are compelling, relevant, believable, and human- and they reveal both what is unique to the book’s setting and what is universal to the human experience.

The school system made an excellent choice in maintaining the book’s inclusion in its reading options. It’s a meaningful read and it’s a widely acknowledged modern classic.

Ultimately, however, it’s just an option. Actual parents in the school system(unlike Ms. Wood) who object to their actual children reading it can opt out and be provided an alternate selection.

By all means, if a parent objects to her child reading a book, then opt out. Banning a book, however, takes away that choice from every other parent. Rather than giving parents a voice, it elevates one parent’s voice above all others.

Finally, it is readily apparent from Ms. Wood’s comments that she either has not read the book or fails to comprehend it. The mentions of racist language and bullying are used to show how these are wrong- it’s condemnatory, much like the use of the n-word in Huck Finn. The book clearly shows that bullying and derogatory language are wrong.

I would hope that the Brunswick County Schools stand firm in their decision and continue to support the right of all parents to make choices for their children, rather than giving in to misinformed, narrow minded censors.

2015 years 10 months ago

There is a difference between burning books and deciding whether or not a book is appropriate for school-age children. I have no opinion on this book as I had never heard of it before it became news, and I feel that adults should read whatever they want to, but we should be discerning with what we let the children read.

2015 years 10 months ago

Exactly. She’s been quoted elsewhere as saying the book has “no positive qualities,” and that’s simply not true. The book is funny, wise, affecting, and real. It’s the exact sort of book kids that age should be reading.

2015 years 10 months ago

Ms. Wood, by all means, make it an issue, pitch a tantrum, do whatever makes you feel better. You should have existed in the 17th century. Why don’t you go have lunch at Chik-Fil_A? If you have any kids, what kind of video games do they play?

Charles Walters
2015 years 10 months ago

Well said. Well said indeed.

2015 years 10 months ago

Like I said, I have no issue with any adult reading an book of his or her choice. I am not for burning books or censoring what adults read. We monitor what is appropriate for kids when it comes to music, movies, tv and video games. Why should we, as a society, draw the line at those things and not monitor what our kids read?

observer 1
2015 years 10 months ago

I agree that we should be vigilant in what we expose our children to. However, banning books is much like burning books. Pol Pot, Adolf Hitler, Stalin, and several places in the current world have leaders that love to ban and burn books that they or their governments do not adhere too. We should be lucky that we live in a country that still allows us some freedoms to prevent zealots from telling us what literature should be allowed or not allowed in our classrooms, our homes, our libraries. You may think my opinion is an over reaction to one simple book but this is where it all begins and one book can easily become many books especially in our already overcharged politically correct atmosphere.
In closing, works of literature are meant to bring about discussion. If we are taking the time to discuss this then this book has done it’s job.

2015 years 10 months ago

Indians do exist! It’s not racist for one of them to write a book about his experiences growing up in the white man’s world. Get a grip! Better yet, get a job. You have way too much time on your hands.

Charles Walters
2015 years 10 months ago

Another religious zelot pushing their own agenda.

2015 years 10 months ago

The smell of burnt books not unlike burnt human hair

2015 years 10 months ago

Ms. wood, why don’t you move up North, there you would be surrounded by more like minded people, and the south would be a freer place to live, let kids read and grown and make up their own minds, not just the agenda you support, that’s what has us in the mess we are in now, the brainwashing our kids have gone thru in public education for the last 20 years, adios.

suspicious 1
2015 years 10 months ago

If the book is banned, it will only make the kids more eager to read it. They will either buy it at a book store or online.


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