Cape Henlopen Board Votes to Remove Entire Summer Reading List - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Cape Henlopen Board Votes to Remove Entire Summer Reading List

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REHOBOTH BEACH, Del.- The Cape Henlopen School District Board on Thursday evening voted 6-1 to put a controversial novel back on a suggested summer reading list and then to eliminate the entire list itself.

After about an hour of comments from the board and from the public, it was decided that the board did not have the proper way to evaluate the novels on the reading list for incoming freshman, and could not make a decision until that protocol was established.

This comes after the board initially voted to remove the novel "The Miseducation of Cameron Post" by Emily Danforth due to foul language. However, public outcry ensued because the book tells the story of a young girl discovering she is a lesbian. Other books on the list had curse in them as well.

After the book was removed, it ended up being sold much more quickly, and could barely stay on bookstore shelves. The controversy even got national attention, for example from gay rights website AfterEllen.com. At Rehoboth Beach bookstore Browseabout Books, 250 copies were donated to help the cause.

Roni Posner, vice president of the school board, was the one "no vote" in the original decision to remove the novel.

 "I think it's a very important book, it's beautifully written and it tells a wonderful story to which students can relate," she said. "As I understand it the main reason it's been put forth is the language and I've reviewed the other books on the list and they all have 'the language' in it, so if we're going to take this book off the list then we should abolish the entire list in my opinion."

Posner shared her opinion at the meeting Thursday night, and was countered by board member Sandi Minard, who said the language was just too rough. Minard read passages from the book that contained many curse words. Minard questioned with a book like this, where does one draw the line?

According to board president Andy Lewis, the book was removed from the list because there was no process to evaluate it after someone complained. He said it was only after that that it was discovered it wasn't the only novel with curse words in it.

 Board member Sargeant Spencer Brittingham suggested the motion to suspend the entire list, which was only implemented for the first time this year, instead of voting for the one book.

Those in favor of removing "The Miseducation of Cameron Post" and those who wished to replace it on the list each had 15 minutes to speak in front of the board.

One person who spoke for the book was Madison Bacon, a young girl who attended Cape Henlopen High School. She said that she personally experienced bullying high school, and believes that if she and her peers had the opportunity to read "The Miseducation of Cameron Post," it could have been lessened.

Jaclyn Hesson, a mother, spoke out against the novel. She said she believed it was a beautifully written story, but not appropriate for incoming freshman, and the by suggesting it, the board is not challenging the minds of young children.

After 30 minutes of emotional public discussion, the board voted to put the book back on the list, and then eliminate the entire list and revert back to the process they had in the past for incoming freshman.

This book list was a suggested reading list brought down from the Delaware Library Association, voted on by young adults.

 


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