5 NBC CHICAGO
March 15, 2013
Some Chicago Public Schools students are up in arms over a perceived book ban, but officials are calling it a misunderstanding.
The book in question is Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi, a graphic memoir of a girl growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution that features descriptions and images of torture.
Some CPS schools starting receiving directives this week to remove the book from the library, prompting some students and teachers to plan a free speech demonstration at Lane Tech High School Friday.
“We believe that removing books from kids is chilling and an act of censorship,” said Barbara Jones, director of the Office for Intellectual Freedom. “It reflects a totalitarian society that this book is all about … the Iranian revolution.”
But CPS Superintendent Barbara Byrd-Bennett issued a letter Friday denying that the book was not being banned, but was being removed from the curriculum for seventh graders where it was deemed not appropriate.
Bennett says the book is only appropriate for junior and senior students and those in Advance Placement classes, and a determination is being made whether it can be added to the curriculum for eighth through tenth grades.
However, Jones says CPS officials have not explained why the book initially being removed from high schools when it’s an issue for seventh graders.
“Persepolis removed from Chicago Public Schools for “graphic illustrations and language”; OIF & FTRF respond”
(ALA OIF & FTRF BLOG | March 15, 2013)
“Chicago School District Under Fire for Restricting Access to ‘Persepolis’”
(Publishers Weekly | Claire Kirch | March 15, 2013)
“CPS students were driving force in protest against book ban”
(Chicago Tribune | Lolly Bowean & Kim Geiger | March 15, 2013)
“Lane Tech Students Hold Morning Sit-In To Protest Persepolis Book Ban”
(Progress Illinois | Ellyn Fortino | March 18, 2013)
“Kids Right to Read Project Responds to Chicago Public Schools Demand to Remove ‘Persepolis’”
(National Coalition Against Censorship | March 18, 2013)
Follow @oif and @ ftrf on Twitter for more updates on this continuing situation.