The censors are at it again! Almost 30 years after the Supreme Court ruled in the Pico case that the First Amendment limits the power of local school boards to remove library books from junior high schools and high schools, the Republic, Missouri school board has decided to remove Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five from the high school curriculum and from the school library. This action was taken in response to a local resident, Missouri State University professor, Wesley Scroggins, who wrote an article in the Springfield News-Leader last fall in which he complained that Vonnegut's book, as well as two others that the school used, contained "inappropriate content" and promoted values contrary to those found in the Bible. (sidenote: We will not be sending our daughter to Missouri State University in 3 years when she graduates high school!)
Where do I even begin here? With the fact that a university professor is condemning works of literature? With the fact that no one in Republic seemed to have had a problem with the curriculum until this man wrote his tirade in a public forum? (Parents, do you have any idea what your kids are studying in school? Why did it take this jackwagon for you to take a look at your kids' reading list?) With the fact that whether or not Vonnegut's book supports or contradicts the values of the Bible is totally irrelevant in a public school? With the fact that these high school students will be able to vote and enlist in the armed forces in a short time, if not now, but are not considered mature enough to handle the material in this book? With the fact that school boards keep watering down the curriculum to the most inoffensive, bland pablum available and then we wonder why our kids don't want to read?
There is a bright spot to this story, however. The Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library in Indianapolis announced that it would offer a free copy of the Slaughterhouse-Five to the 150 students who were supposed to have read it in class, thanks to a generous donation from an anonymous donor. I sincerely hope that these students realize that the school board is attempting to restrict their first amendment rights and will insist on reading the book. I don't care if they like the book. I don't care if they agree with Vonnegut's ideas. I just want these soon-to-be adults to be able to judge for themselves.