A school board in Alaska has decided that five classic works of literature, including “the Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald, are unsuitable for high schoolers to read, and has pulled them from the curriculum.
The Matanuska-Susitna School Board, with a 5-2 vote, banned the book from being taught, and also banned literary classics including “Invisible Man” by Ralph Ellison; “Catch-22” by Joseph Heller; “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien and “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” by Maya Angelou, the Anchorage Daily News reports.
According to Jillian Morrisey, Mat-Su Borough School District spokeswoman, teachers are now forbidden from teaching the books in their classes.
The school board released their reasons for banning the books. “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings” contains Angelou’s description of sexual abuse she suffered. “Gatsby” was challenged for language and sexual references.
“Invisible Man,” got into trouble with the board for containing bad language, rape and incest, while “Catch-22” got nailed for “racial slurs, misogyny and racist attitudes, and violence of war and against women,” the Anchorage Daily News reports.
Finally, “The Things They Carried” came under fire for profanity and sexual references, according to a handout from the school board.
The Mat-Su Education Association teachers’ union intends to challenge the decision, Dianne K. Shibe, its president, said. She said the decision was “not set in stone.”
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