Okay, so now TUSD claims it didn’t ban the books because students can still check them out of select libraries and use the district’s interlibrary loan system to check out the books if their school doesn’t have it. But according to Salon.com (Jeff Biggers, who is accused by TUSD of putting this “false” information out there), there just aren’t that many copies of the books available to be checked out. Oh, and teachers can’t teach these topics–to the point of having their personal copies of the books removed from the classroom as well (Biggers’ article made it sound like teachers could at least take their personal copies home).
So, if we’re mincing words, no the books aren’t “banned” as I wrote earlier, at least not under the usual sense of the word. But, let’s face it, they are–this type of censorship effectively keeps kids from reading the books–not to mention their parents. In the school district I grew up in, we celebrated banned books week — books could be removed from individual schools (usually, but not always for content deemed inappropriate for the age group) if a parent challenged the book, but other than that, books stayed in the libraries. I should point out, books stayed in the libraries pretty much forever (librarians had a hard time getting rid of books, even when they were fabulously outdated & falling apart). I suspect TUSD isn’t too dissimilar.
But maybe what we should be asking, and what we should have looked at when it came down the pipeline–before it was voted on–(I don’t doubt many people did and I just didn’t get the news) is the court decision last week that prohibits Mexican American Studies (MAS) in Tucson. That’s also highly problematic in a city with a population that is nearly 50% Hispanic. Why, exactly, are Mexican American Studies dangerous?