Panel cuts two books from list for pupils School board to vote on parents' request

June 11, 1996|By Anne Haddad | Anne Haddad,SUN STAFF

A parent book-screening panel has approved all but two of the more than 200 books teachers have requested for use next year.

The books will go before the Carroll County Board of Education for a vote at its regular meeting at 9 a.m. tomorrow. The board has never approved a book rejected by the screening panel, called the Curriculum Council. But the board has voted down books the council has approved.

The two books the Curriculum Council will not recommend are: The novel "Something Upstairs," by Avi, for seventh grade. At the meeting last month where the council discussed and voted on books, parents were concerned about the depiction of a killing a boy character has to plan, partly in self-defense.

"Buried in Ice," a nonfiction work by Owen Beattie and John Geiger, for fourth-grade language and history. Parents were concerned about using the book for such young children because of a photograph that had a disturbing image of the victims of a doomed expedition.

The pictures of the frozen corpses showed grimacing faces and bulging eyes, Mary Ellen Gearheart, a Carrolltowne Elementary mother, said at the meeting last month. She said a friend's daughter who read the book had nightmares afterward.

The council approved most of the requested books at its May 16 meeting. But nine books aroused enough concern among members that they were pulled for a separate mail-in vote. The delay gave members a second chance to review books that might have raised questions.

Of the nine books, three were elementary school picture books related to Halloween. Although two Christian parents at the meeting objected to the books and to any curriculum references Halloween, a majority of the council approved them.

Another parent questioned whether the Rosemary Wells book "Max's Chocolate Chicken," which is about Easter even though the holiday isn't named, was appropriate for first-graders. Her concern was unrelated to the Halloween objections, however.

Before a teacher may use any book with a large group, it must be approved by the council for that grade level.

The council includes two parents from each school and one student from each of the five high schools. About 40 of the members, slightly more than half, attended the meeting last month.

Pub Date: 6/11/96

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