Censorship The Egypt Gameby Zilpha Keatley Snyder Tara Zandt LSIS 5505 Assignment 12 November 7, 2010
Synopsis of Actual Reconsideration Event (2007) Wichita Falls, Texas The Egypt Game is part of a reading list in a fourth-grade class at Southern Hills Elementary School. Some parents have a problem with the reading selection. The book has been an optional part of the Wichita Falls School District's curriculum for years. However, the Turnbow family said they won't stop until the book is banned. It's a Newbery Award-winning story about a group of children who invent a game involving Egyptian gods, but the Turnbows said its not a game they want their child knowing about. Dandi Turnbow, the student's mother, said her fourth grade son was given the book to read in his class at Southern Hills Elementary. Their son read a few chapters of the book when they discovered some passages that disturbed them: including scenes depicting Egyptian worship rituals. "I let him know this is not what we believe at all and this is not anything he needs to be subjected to," Dandi Turnbow said. School District Officials said curriculum specialists have reviewed the book and find it appropriate, but the school honored the parents' wishes and allowed the student to select a different book. The Turnbows said giving their son a new book isn't enough for them. They want the book banned altogether. "The school understands that the parent objected. There were four students who chose the book. He was the only student that had an objection that came forward," said Renae Murphy, the school district's information officer. "I'm not going to stop until it's banned from the school district. I will not quiet down. I will not back down," said Jeff Turnbow, the student's father. District officials said they try to honor parents' wishes, but there is a formal process to request a district-wide book ban. "As far as the situation with this child.. It has been resolved. We do have a formal approval process in place if that parent wishes to ban it from all children, but the request is for their own child," Murphy said. "I also hope that it gets banned because I don't believe any student should be subjected to anything that has to do with evil gods or black magic," Dandi Turnbow said. Reported in: kauz.com, November 11 2008.
Request for Reconsideration Form The school board of ABC School Library County, U.S.A., has delegated the responsibility for selection and evaluation of library/educational resources to the school library media specialist/curriculum committee, and has established reconsideration procedures to address concerns about those resources. Completion of this form is the first step in those procedures. If you wish to request reconsideration of school or library resources, please return the completed form to the Coordinator of Library Media Resources, ABC School, 123 Everystreet Rd, Any town, U.S.A. Name: Mrs. I.M. Complainer Date: November 7, 2010 Address/City/State/Zip: 567 Censorship Road, Anytown USA Phone: (336)123-4567 Do you represent self? X Organization? ____ 1. Resource on which you are commenting: Book Textbook Video Display Magazine Library Program Audio Recording Newspaper Electronic Information Network (Please Specify) Other Title: The Egypt Game Author/Producer: Zilpha Keatley Snyder 2. What brought this resource to your attention? My child brought this book home from the school library. 3. Have you examined the entire resource? I reviewed it briefly but when I saw the content I did not feel my beliefs would allow me or my child to read it any further. 4. What concerns you about the resource? This book is filled with references to other Gods and Egyptian worship rituals. For example page 45 has a sentence “Oh mighty Set, God of evil, we hear and we obey.” No child in this school should be exposed to examples of children praying to evil Gods. There is only one Christian God and to show worship of others is sacrilegious. 5. Are there resource(s) you suggest to provide additional information and/or other viewpoints on this topic? If teaching religion is not allowed in school, this book should be removed.
Procedure after Receipt of Reconsideration Form • Thank the person who submitted the reconsideration and provide them with written documentation regarding the process and timeframe for resolution. • Do not discuss the issue until you are prepared. • Develop rationales for choosing and using the book. • Provide copies of all pertinent data to principal, involved parties and reconsideration review board. • Compile/obtain the reconsideration meeting report, data and decisions made by the review board. • Keep all appropriate parites informed. • Inform the person expressing concern a formal written letter regarding the decision made by the committee and why. • Keep and maintain careful and accurate records of all documents, forms, meeting notes, letters etc.
Reconsideration ResponseThe Egypt Game Dear Mrs. I.M. Complainer; This is the response to your reconsideration request of The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder. The title was reviewed by the reevaluation committee consisting of the administration, staff, and parent representatives as explained to you and written in the School District policy and procedures previously provided to you. The book was originally published in 1967 and is a 1968 Newbury Honor Book. This award honors the most distinguished children’s book published the previous year. It has since been reprinted and read by many, many children. It also received extremely positive reviews by Kirkus Reviews, School Library Journal, and Publishers Weekly to name a few. In addition, our circulation records show a continuous demand for the title. In the story, a girl reads a book about Egypt and finds the history and culture fascinating. She encourages her friends to learn about Egypt and they all check out books from the library to learn more about Egypt. They decide to form a creative and imaginative play group to explore and learn about Egyptian Life. While the book does contain incidents of non Christian worship, the children are just exploring a part of ancient human history with no intent to subscribe to an old viewpoint. They are just playing “pretend” and not attempting to espouse an adoption of a religion. In fact at the end of the book they tire of the “Egypt Game” and plan to create a new game surrounding the history and customs of gypsies. The study of other peoples and cultures is part of the curriculum here at ABC Elementary School and imaginative, creative activities are encouraged for students to find deeper meaning to textbook content. Our school library strives to provide a diverse collection to meet the needs of students and support the curriculum for grades K-5. While some of the school library resources may be better suited for a 5th grader rather than a 1st grader, resources must still be provided for all. In view of the above information, the reevaluation committee has determined that The Egypt Game meets the requirements in the School District Materials Selection Policy and therefore The Egypt Game will be retained in the library collection but please know that your child is not required to read this book and is certainly welcome to choose another book with a different era of human history to explore. If you need any help or would like to discuss this further, please feel free to contact me. Sincerely, Noah Books, ABC Elementary School Media Specialist
Strategies to Deal with Challenges • The librarian must be sensitive to complaints about the collection without compromising the rights of others or the integrity of the library collection and its policies • Ensure familiarity with the collection policy • Listen and empathize with parents about the library collections and concerns • Keep upper level staff informed of issues • Join professional organizations to become knowledgeable of issues and trends • Encourage parent or guardian participation in book selection • Provide parent education and know your message when speaking with the media
Coping with a Challenge • Be courteous and receptive to parental challenge. Inform and distribute copies to them regarding the challenge process. Inform staff, committee, and board members about complaints • Be informed about procedures and ensure policy is followed • Apply the principles of intellectual freedom as endorsed by the ALA • Ensure the protection of students and staff with reference to the district materials selection policy • Issue pertinent policies to all parents via all applicable methods • Provide a packet of materials selection and educational policy goals and reconsideration forms to parents registering concerns • Review all policies on a consistent basis • Prepare a response explaining the principles of intellectual freedom and school policy for parents, staff and directors • Once a decision is made, communicate the written result to the challenger and respond accordingly to the decision • Refer to www.ALA.org for assistance and guidance when challenged
References "ALA | Coping with Challenges." ALA | Home - American Library Association. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Oct. 2010. <http://www.ala.org/ala/issuesadvocacy/banned/challengeslibrarymaterials/copingwithchallenges/index.cfm>. “Censorship Facts, information, pictures | Encyclopedia.com articles about censorship." Encyclopedia - Online Dictionary | Encyclopedia.com: Get facts, articles, pictures, video. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Oct. 2010. <http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/censorship.aspx>. Kiefer, Barbara. Charlotte Huck's Children's Literature. 10 ed. New York City: McGraw-Hill Humanities/Social Sciences/Languages, 2009. Print. "Public Libraries and Intellectual Freedom." American Library Association. N.p., 29 May 2007. Web. 18 Oct. 2010. <www.ala.org/ala/aboutala/offices/oif/iftoolkits/ifmanual/fifthedition/publiclibraries.cfm >. Snyder, Zilpha Keatley. The Egypt Game. New York: Atheneum, 1986.