ACLU enters dispute over book in Watauga County

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - The American Civil Liberties Union says it’s joining a rally prior to a Watauga County school board meeting where members will consider banning a book.

The Charlotte Observer reports (http://bit.ly/OA9vov) the ACLU announced it would join Thursday’s rally against the proposed ban in Boone. The English department at Appalachian State University is among the sponsors of the rally.

At issue is “The House of the Spirits,” written in 1982 by Spanish author Isabel Allende. Reviews say the book tells the story of three generations of a family that deals with social revolution and a spirit-filled world. It’s part of the Honors English curriculum for Watauga High School sophomores. The book includes instances of rape and executions.

Several parents complained to the school board that the book is too graphic for 10th graders, and asked the board to remove it from the curriculum.

It’s the third school system in North Carolina to consider a book ban in the last five months. In January, the Brunswick County Board of Education voted 3-2 to continue using the Pulitzer Prize winning novel “The Color Purple” in some high school English classes. The board said it would revisit the issue later.

Last September, the Randolph County Board of Education voted to rescind its ban on Ralph Ellison’s “Invisible Man,” returning it to local high school libraries.

“We hope Watauga officials will join their peers in Randolph and Brunswick counties who earlier this school year recognized the danger of banning books and in the end voted in favor of the freedom to read, said Chris Brook, legal director of the ACLU-NC Legal Foundation.

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Information from: The Charlotte Observer, http://www.charlotteobserver.com

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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