Unbanned in Arundel

September 22, 1991

A year has passed, but thanks to some quiet legal work folk-singer Barry Louis Polisar is back in the Anne Arundel County school system's good graces. County children are now free again to hear such noted Polisar ditties as the classic "I've Got a Teacher; She's So Mean," the more contemporary "Diaper Rash (A Monster Song)," and the ever-popular "Don't Stick Your Finger Up Your Nose."

Don't let the outrageous titles mislead you. The songs and books behind them offend only the ears of adults who are sadly out of touch with the reality of youngsters today. Elementary-school-age kids -- not to mention a good number of their parents -- delight in how the peppy Mr. Polisar twists this kind of kid stuff into inventive, good, clean fun. He's made a living at it for 15 years.

Nevertheless, this time a year ago a surprisingly humorless "curriculum review committee" deemed Mr. Polisar lacking as a role model and banned both the performer and his works in Anne Arundel County schools. No matter that the Silver Spring resident and University of Maryland graduate had performed in the county for a decade or so without incident. No matter that he was in demand by PTAs, school officials and thousands of kids elsewhere in Central Maryland, as well as nationally. He performed on PBS' "Sesame Street." Earlier this year, Mr. Polisar performed by invitation at the White House's annual Easter egg roll.

The Arundel decision a year ago was an act of senseless `D censorship. At one point during the ensuing flap, the singer and song-writer said: "All I'm doing is holding a mirror up to children." It's right that Arundel school kids can look into it again.

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