Committee recommends superintendent keep book in school

Based on a recommendation from Supt. Don Schrader’s Instructional

Materials Review Committee, he has decided to allow the book “The

Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” to remain in use in

the School District.

Following a closed session, the committee reported that it voted

to keep the book, with consideration of grade level appropriateness

and informed consent of the parents.

Under the policy, the committee could take no action, remove all

or part of the instructional materials from the school environment or

limit the educational use of the challenged materials.

The committee voted to limit the educational use of the challenged

material, Schrader said.

The decision served as a recommendation to the superintendent.

Because it was a committee reporting to the superintendent the

details of the vote could be kept confidential, Schrader said.

“I will follow the recommendation and require informed consent

and use the expertise of our educators to define ‘grade-level

appropriate,’” Schrader said.

The School Board will consider the book during its next regular

meeting, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on March 10.

“One of the complainants has requested the matter be brought to

the next regularly scheduled board meeting,” Schrader said. “That

would be in March.”

The Materials Review Committee, which also has been called the

reconsideration committee, met on Feb. 12 to consider five requests

for reconsideration of instructional materials, “Diary of a

Part-Time Indian,” used in the eighth-grade language arts classes.

“According to the policy when there is an objection to

materials, ‘any resident of the district may raise objection to the

materials used in class,’” Schrader said. “In this case, an

objection to supplementary materials was filed.

As a result of the process, the committee members were given

copies of the materials and other correspondence and listened to

testimony from community members, parents, students and educators.

Complainants, parents and community members who objected to the

use of the book were primarily concerned about the language and

vulgarity in the novel. They also were concerned about the potential

ostracism and separate treatment for students whose parents did not

sign a permission slip. Those students are reading alternate

materials and leaving the classroom during discussions about the

“Diary of a Part-Time Indian.”

Teachers, students and supporters said the book has strong

educational value, with wide-ranging discussions of the books themes,

and that it makes eighth-grade students want to read like no other

piece of literature.