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The Alaskan school board bans five books, including the Great Gatsby because they depict rape and incest

An Alaskan school board has banned five books from high school English lessons after considering them “ controversial. ”

Schools in the town of Wasilla and Palmer, with a population of about 6,000 each, have banned Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man; Catch-22 by Joseph Heller; The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien; I know why the caged bird sings by Maya Angelou; and The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

All five books have been studied in the past by high school classes in the Anchorage School District, with some compulsory literature.

The Great Gatsby

Catch-22

Catch-22

An Alaskan school board has banned five high school literary classics, including The Great Gatsby and Catch-22

I know why The Caged Bird Sings

I know why The Caged Bird Sings

Invisible man

Invisible man

The board also decided to remove I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings and Invisible Man

The Things They Carried was also banned

The Things They Carried was also banned

The Things They Carried was also banned

The Matanuska-Susitna School Board voted 5-2 at a meeting on Wednesday meeting to remove the books from the required reading list of English courses according to The Daily Beast.

It means that teachers in schools in the city are no longer allowed to teach the texts, but it is not known whether the books will be removed from libraries.

The books were considered controversial by the board because they included scenes of rape and incest with graphic descriptions along with sexual references.

“Things that are pretty serious problems, especially in our teenage world,” board member Jeff Taylor told the Anchorage Daily News.

“Is there a reason why we include books that we even consider controversial in our curriculum?” he asked. “I’d rather these were gone.”

Another board member who voted for their removal Jim Hart admitted that he hadn’t even read two books, except for a summary.

Tom Bergey is the chairman of the Mat-Su School Board

Tom Bergey is the chairman of the Mat-Su School Board

Jeff Taylor voted to remove the books

Jeff Taylor voted to remove the books

Voices for the removal of the books were Chairman Tom Bergey, left, and Jeff Taylor

Board member Jim Hart voted to remove the novels

Board member Jim Hart voted to remove the novels

Ryan Ponder

Ryan Ponder

Board member Jim Hart voted to remove the novels, as did board member Ryan Ponder

In Angelou’s book, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, the novel contains a graphical description of molestation.

Hart claims he would be admonished if he read it to the board.

“If I read this in a professional environment in the office, I would be dragged to the Equal Opportunities Office,” he said.

Another board member, Ole Larson, said he believed that most parents did not follow the reading lists or knew much about their content.

“I can tell you that the majority of parents will just sign off the books and still won’t read them or even know what’s inside,” he said.

In Maya Angelou's book, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, the novel contains 'a graphical description of molestation'

In Maya Angelou's book, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, the novel contains 'a graphical description of molestation'

In Maya Angelou’s book, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, the novel contains ‘a graphical description of molestation’

A member who voted against the ban, Kelsey Trimmer, said the entire episode reminded him of the 1984 film Footloose, about a small Midwestern town that makes dancing and rock music illegal.

Fellow board member who voted against the ban, Sarah Welton, told Daily News that removing the books was not good for the students.

“I think the controversial book topics as judged by parents … it’s beneficial to our students,” Welton said. “I think we might do a disservice not to do that.”

A former teacher asked the board what comments they found offensive.

Wasilla High School students studying English novels have removed five seminal texts from their syllabus

Wasilla High School students studying English novels have removed five seminal texts from their syllabus

Wasilla High School students studying English novels have removed five seminal texts from their syllabus

“One of the goals in teaching books with controversial content is that teachers can guide students through the book to get to the underlying ideas,” Chesbro wrote. “What are the underlying ideas that you object to when you read these books?”

The decision came after a board member asked for information about English electives that could be considered controversial.

The Anchorage School District also uses a group of teachers and administrators to review books, with the Assistant Superintendent making the final decision.

The Mat-Su Education Association released a statement on Friday condemning the Mat-Su School Board’s decision to drop five books from the curriculum.

“This is a blatant attempt to curtail critical thinking, suppress discussion, and deprive our students of the opportunity to share as a class the experience of studying some of the most classic American literature,” Dianne K. Shibe, president of the mat -Su Education Association.

The statement continues that the board made the decision with only minimal community involvement and disregarding the public process.

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