Lee county school board won't ban book - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Lee county school board won't ban book

February 13, 2006

Lee County--A controversial book will not be banned from Lee County schools. Tonight, the school board decided not to remove "Killing Mr. Griffin" from schools. A few Lee County parents say the book is inappropriate.

The book contains profanity, depicts violence, drug use, and lying. And even though some parents find the book appalling, most board members feel, the good far outweighs the bad.

It's one of the most challenged books in the country, yet most school board members agree it's a great source for teaching valuable life lessons. "The book in context, taken in context, teaches among other things that we're sometimes too quick to judge the motives and feelings of others toward us," says board member, Louis Hatcher.

"It teaches the consequences of actions and responsibility for your actions," says board member, Sylvia Vann.

"Killing Mr. Griffin" is about a group of students who accidentally kill their teacher in a prank gone wrong. Some Lee County parents believe the book encourages violence, some board members, however, disagree.

"Killing Mr. Griffin doesn't encourage violence in school anymore than the story of Cain and Able encourages their children to kill their younger brothers," says Vann.

"I personally would say that the book did cross the line," says Frank Griffin.

Griffin was the only board member opposed to the book's content and negative influence on students. "It lends to the change we have seen in school systems over say the 28 years that book has been in a existence," he says.

While the book has been challenged four times nationally since 1988, other board members feel the book will force students to consider the consequences of bad decision making.

"The devastating consequences of the senior prank that inadvertently led to the death of a fine young man should make readers of 'Killing Mr. Griffin' think twice before allowing themselves to be led down to a dangerous path that's no turning back," says Vann.

And that censoring literature from students is not the solution, and won't solve any problems in the long haul. "Closing our eye to the evil around us or shielding our children from it may serve to further ignorance, but it will never serve to stop evil," says Hatcher.

Starting next school year, Lee County schools will send home a list containing information about the reading material students will be exposed to. The list will include whether the book has been challenged, and, if so, why. Students whose parents consider assigned literature inappropriate will receive alternate assignments.

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