The Republic, Missouri school board reversed their decision to ban Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five...sort of, according to Husna Haq for the Christian Science Monitor's blog this week.
Instead of an outright ban, the school library will have a secured area. If parents want their teen to read the book, they can come to the high school library and check it out for them. "Is it the ultimate irony? 'Slaughterhouse Five,' Kurt Vonnegut's novel about life in a Nazi prisoner-of-war camp, will now reside in a 'literary gulag' in a Missouri high school," says Haq.
For obvious reasons this sort of plan will not work to promote the freedom to read. What high school student wants to have his/her parent come to school to check out a book? And won't this policy of holding books "behind bars" at school make it easier to challenge and ban books in the future?
Two humorous things have occurred because of the ban and now the "sort of" reversal:
1. Book holds for Slaughterhouse Five at the local public library are way up (over 30.) Nothing like a little "dirt" to make people want to read the book to find out what all the fuss is about. Ha!
2. The Kurt Vonnegut Foundation donated a copy of the book to up to 150 students in the school who requested it. Ha-ha! The School Board responded to one person's request to ban a book and the whole process has made more people than ever want to read it.
According to Julia Whitehead [Director of the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Foundation], Vonnegut may have responded best to this sort of book banning when he said: 'All these people talk so eloquently about getting back to good old-fashioned values...and I say let's get back to the good old-fashioned First Amendment of the good old-fashioned Constitution of the United States—and to hell with the censors! Give me knowledge or give me death!' ---ACLU Webpage
What do you think of this situation? How do you think it will work holding controversial books in a "literary gulag (a prison camp)?"
Participate in my Banned Books Week Hop Giveaway here.