Oregon School District Considers Ban On Sherman Alexie Novel

Feb 4, 2014
Originally published on February 3, 2014 4:05 pm

A school district in Sweet Home, Ore., is considering whether to pull a book by Northwest author Sherman Alexie from junior high classrooms.

“The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” is frequently targeted for removal from school reading lists for its language and depictions of violence and sexuality.

The Sweet Home school district says it received five requests from parents to have the book re-evaluated.

“It's not frustrating that parents want to have an alternative unit," says eighth grade language arts teacher Chelsea Gagner. "Every parent has the right to know what their child's education is like. I'm not frustrated with that. I am frustrated that a small handful of parents are trying to take it away from the rest of the kids.”

Gagner says her students are already about 100 pages into the book.

Parents had to give permission for their kid to participate in the unit on “Part-Time Indian” – and most did. But the superintendent of the district says the people who filed complaints worried the students who weren't allowed to read the book would be singled out by their peers.

The school board hopes to make a decision next week.

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