School Board Cancels Summer Reading List Rather Than Include LGBT Themed Novel


A Delaware school board is in the news after members elected to cancel a summer reading list program rather than include an LGBT themed coming of age novel about a young lesbian.

After complaints from parents, the Cape Henlopen School board in mid-June removed a young adult novel about a teenager realizing she's gay from its district summer reading list. The Miseducation of Cameron Post was filled with profanity, the school board claimed as its reason, but many, including its author, believe it's because the book deals with homosexuality. 

In the 6-1 vote to remove The Miseducation of Cameron Post, the school board violated its own rules by removing the book without proper investigation. It also chose to leave in the list several other books that contained profanity, including "The Fault In Our Stars.

After a campaign by AfterEllen and grassroots supporters, the school board took its next move -- late last month it canceled the entire reading list, rather than include an LGBT-themed novel.

The book's author, writer and teacher emily m. danforth, in an open letter to the school board notes that they "admit to not even fully reading my book before voting to remove it."

danforth (who spells her name in all lower case letters), singling out school board President Spencer Brittingham, writes that "while you may claim that the board's 'intent is not to censor' --that is, of course, precisely what you've done."

The Miseducation of Cameron Post was included on a librarian-developed list that was part of a summer reading program for incoming freshman. You took the drastic action of removing the book from that list, thereby eliminating it as one of the books students participating in that program might choose to complete their assignment. Yes, my book is (apparently) still available in the school library--which is wonderful--but it is no longer a part of this important summer reading program because of a direct action taken by this school board. Period. That's the very definition of censorship, Mr. Brittingham. But surely you know this. (It does seem that this board rather likes to hide behind its rhetoric.)

danforth concludes, "please don't think, for one second, that I'm advocating for you to ban--sorry, censor--oh, sorry--remove all of those books as well. That would be a fucking travesty."

Tomorrow marks the two-month anniversary that the book was removed from the list.


Hat tip: CBLDF via Boing Boing
Image by Paolo Sammicheli via Flickr