Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Banning the Bible in Maryland

Given ALA's self-professed determination to protect the freedom to read in schools, I wonder what they'll do about this apparent violation of that principle:

Amber Mangum was a frequent reader during lunch breaks at her Prince George's County middle school, silently soaking up the adventures of Harry Potter and other tales in the spare minutes before afternoon classes. The habit was never viewed as a problem -- not, a lawsuit alleges, until the book she was reading was the Bible.

A vice principal at Dwight D. Eisenhower Middle School in Laurel last month ordered Amber, then 12, to stop reading the Bible or face punishment, according to a lawsuit filed Friday by Amber's mother. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt, alleges that the vice principal's actions violated the girl's civil rights.

Link courtesy of Pajamas Media, who wonder what would have happened if Amber had been reading a Koran.


Anonymous Ed Merwin, Jr. said...

I hope Amber has gotten in touch with the Christian Law Association who, I am SURE, would be delighted to defend her right to read the Bible in school. They charge no fee for services rendered.

8:50 AM  
Blogger Angel, librarian and educator said...

Had it been the Koran, she, or her parents, would have probably gotten a visit from Homeland Security or other law enforcement. Anyhow, while I can understand the separation of church and state idea fine, I don't see why this school made a fuss over an individual's reading. Actually, if she is reading Harry Potter and the Bible, it seems her reading habits are pretty healthy. Aren't we supposed to encourage that?

10:44 AM  
Blogger Dave said...

Angel, I appreciate the comment, but I have to take issue with this statement:

"Had it been the Koran, she, or her parents, would have probably gotten a visit from Homeland Security or other law enforcement."

You mean just like DHS "visited" that kid in Massachusetts for reading Mao's "Little Red Book"?

Of course, in reality, there's not the slightest bit of evidence that anyone has been investigated for reading the Koran. In fact, the fear of the backlash that would ensue means that it will probably never happen. Nor should it.

I think Pajamas Media's point was that if this had been any religious text other than the Bible, nothing would have been said. I find myself inclined to agree.

8:45 PM  
Blogger Angel, librarian and educator said...

Of course, that would not go along with the recent detention of that guy in an airport for the simple "sin" of speaking Tamil on the cellphone? Unlike the one in Massachusetts, that incident was not made up (at least as of last writing). Yes, I know it is a different incident, but it can be illustrative of climate. I did mean it in a light way when I posted the comment, but sadly, I don't think that could be much of a stretch given the panicky climate. In seriousness, Pajamas is probably right: had it been something else, it probably not be a big deal. At least, I would like to think that. Best, and keep on blogging.

12:51 PM  

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