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Lewes, Delaware
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July 29, 2014     Cape Gazette
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Cape Gazette NEWS TUESDAY, JULY 29- THURSDAY, JULY 31, 2014 3 Cape board Continued from page 1 list before entering ninth grade; college prep students were re- quired to read one. Board member Spencer Brit- tingham made the motion at the July 24 meeting to remove the reading list requirement, but he amended the motion after board member Alison Myers suggested putting "The Miseducation of Cameron Post" back on the list before tossing out the list. "What we did was the right thing," Brittingham said. "You can't please everyone, but I think we did the best thing for stu- dents." The summer reading list for incoming freshman was new this summer, Brittingham said. Before this summer, he said, there was no list. "Our initial foray was not suc- cessful, so we'll have to move forward," he said. Only board member Noble Prettyman voted against with- drawing the reading list, although he was one of the six who voted in June to remove "The Mise- ducation of Cameron Post" from the list. In June, board Vice Presi- dent Roni Posner cast the only vote against removing the book from the summer reading list. Posner questioned her fellow board members why "The Mise- ducation of Cameron Post" - a story about a young, gay girl - was removed for profanity when other books on the list contained MELISSA STEELE PHOTO HARRY METCALFE addresses the Cape Henlopen school board July 24, speaking against a controversial book that had been removed from a high school reading list. profanity. "This was the only book that we received complaints about," said board President Andy Lewis. He said he voted to remove the book because there was no pol- icy on how the book was placed on the list. ACLU alleges improper procedures Fallout from the board's deci- sion to remove the book has continued with the American Civil Liberties Union of Dela- ware weighing. Richard Morse, ACLU of Delaware legal director, said in a press release that re- moving the book is a violation of the Freedom of Information Act because the board did not inform the public they were going to take action on the book. He also said the board cannot remove a book because it disagrees with a book's ideas. "Schools have a legal obliga- tion to allow the free and open exchange of ideas and informa- tion," he said. "Removing a book for those reasons violates stu- dents' First Amendment rights and stifles academic freedom." Board member Sandi Minard said in a previous interview that it is within a board member's rights to call for a vote on an is- sue if a situation arises. During the July 24 meeting, Minard began reading a D-page compilation of profanity, instanc- es of drug use and sexual details found within the book before saying those were her reasons for voting to remove the book. "It's not because the main character is gay ... the book is not age-appropriate," she said. Board member Jen Burton said her decision was not made because the main character was gay; she agreed the amount of profanity in the book was unac- ceptable. In the future, Burton said, the district should create its own reading list for incoming fresh- man. "I am going to make sure a new policy is clear about age-appro- priate material," she said. "We Contact Lynn (302)227"7142 "No Fly" Cruise - Brand New Ship San Juan, St Thomas, St Maarten, St Kitts, St Lucia, Barbados, New York City ACCENT ON TRAVEL AccentOnTravel.US must be mindful of our policies. We didn't have a summer reading list policy." In an earlier interview, Prin- cipal Brian Donahue said a group of high school educators decided to use the Blue Hen List created by state librarians for Cape's summer reading list. The Blue Hen list is made up of contemporary, young adult litera- ture intended to keep students reading throughout the summer months. ing, just as many continued to support the book and the mes- sage it offers for gay students. Recent Cape graduate Madison Bacon said gay kids are bullied in school, and "The Miseducation of Cameron Post" could help them handle adversity. "It is a wonderful book. When I heard you removed it, it made Citizens offer differing views Harry Metcalfe and his wife, Celeste, were part of a group of parents who took issue with the language and sexually explicit nature of "The Miseducation of Cameron Post." Throughout the nearly 500- page book conversations are laced with profanity; the main character, Cameron, has several sexual relationships explained in detail, and drug and alcohol use are commonplace. "You have to think of the children when you pick out the books," Celeste Metcalfe said. Parent Jaclyn Hesson also took issue with the message the book could send to young people. "She's promiscuous, drinks all the time and does drugs," Hesson said. ' re we pulling students up, or are we just handing them stuff?" While the Metcalfes and Hes- son represented about half of 50 people who attended the meet- me very sad," she said. Others in the audience said the school board's vote to remove the book is evidence of discrimi- nation. "In my opinion you're discrim- inating against a group of people I represent," said Joan Deaver, a member of Sussex County Council. and [lectri( Vehicle Service Oil Changes. [lectricol Brakes. 14eating [, Cooling Tires, [xhoust Computer Diagnostics 33711Wescoats Road, #Z, Lewes Over 30 Years [xperience @ Everyone has retirement questions. So Ameriprise created the exclusive Confident Retirement approach. We can help you break down retirement planning step-by-step to get the real answers you need. 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