Robot 6

CBLDF, other groups come to defense of ‘Persepolis’

persepolisThe Comic Book Legal Defense Fund joined the Kids’ Right to Read Project and the National Coalition for Censorship in urging Chicago Public Schools to return Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis to seventh- through 10th-grade classrooms.

The award-winning graphic was pulled Wednesday afternoon from Lane Tech College Prep ahead of a district-wide ban, sparking outcry from teachers, faculty and students, some of whom planned a protest Friday afternoon. Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett then ordered principals to disregard the earlier directive, leaving Persepolis in libraries but asking that the book not be taught in seventh-grade classrooms — it was previously part of the curriculum — “due to the powerful images of torture.”

The memoir recounting Satrapi’s childhood in Iran during the Islamic revolution is also under review for grades eight through 10. A Chicago Public Schools spokeswoman said the initial directive was sent by district staff following concerns raised by teachers at Austin-North Lawndale, but it didn’t reflect the intent of the administration.

In the letter to Byrd-Bennett and the board of education, the National Coalition Against Censorship wrote, “While we are relieved that the book will remain available to older students, the restriction on access for junior high school students is extremely troubling. The title character of Satrapi’s book is herself the age of junior high school students, and her description of her real-life experiences might well have special relevance to them. The explanation that the book is ‘inappropriate’ for this age group is unpersuasive. The vast majority of Chicago middle school students are surely aware of the reality of violence and its devastating effects on people of all ages. Most have witnessed it on the news, if not in their own neighborhoods.To remove this book because of objections to its content is impermissible under the First Amendment.”

Read the full letter below.

Persepolis Letter Final

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3 Comments

What they are really upset about is seeing that people in Iran before the religious nuts took over were pretty much like your average American people. Some people might actually get upset when we finally expand our middle east war to Iran. They also may not want you to see the dangers in letting religion run a country.

You’re projecting, Greg. The reason it was pulled was someone thought it might MIGHT not be appropriate for junior high students. The backlash changed her mind and she reversed her decision. That’s all. It was a stupid, overblown reaction and handled in a very bad way, but the people affected by it stood up and made their case. And it worked, the book was put back where it belongs. It had NOTHING to do with religion.

I agree with Shadowtag. And, as an elementary school/ junior high librarian, I can honestly say that I wouldn’t keep this in my library. There are just some things that are not appropriate for middle schoolers. Should they eventually read it? OF COURSE! But come on… let them be kids a little longer.

Also, I just want to say that if an eight grader shows interest in graphic novels/ geeky books, I usually give them a long list of books, including comics, that they should read once they graduate and move on to high school. This includes Blankets, Perks of Being a Wallflower, Maus, Watchmen, and many, many more.

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