Here’s a longer report from Blue Arkansas on the outpouring of support last night for continued teaching of “The Kite Runner” in the Valley View School District in Jonesboro. The antis folded entirely in the face of a community uprising. The themes and Islam culture in the widely praised book had offended a substitute teacher and prompted calls for removal of the book from an honors English course. The School Board rebuffed the idea last night.
There was a huge crowd there in support of the teacher. The often vilified ACLU had a presence there of course, but there were a ton of people from the community — teachers, students from the school, ministers — all gathered in support of letting the students read the book. Honestly, I’m not even sure there was a single person there for the opposition — even the people that started it didn’t show! The video I captured shows how brief the meeting was and how big the crowd happened to be. I also got some time with a really impressive high school senior who had gathered a petition of over eighty students in support of reading the book and Norm Stafford, a Jonesboro resident connected with the ACLU.
(There are smart kids in Valley View, I can attest, from seeing its nominations each year in the Times’ Academic All-Stars competition. They have some help, clearly, from teachers and parents.)