Monday, December 31, 2012
When parents challenged two books from AP English class, community members pushed back.
This is the fifth and final installment in a recap of the top five stories Plymouth-Canton Patch covered in 2012. When Plymouth-Canton Community School's superintendent pulled the Graham Swift novel Waterland from AP English classrooms after parental complaints about a controversial passage, it set off a spirited pushback from the community with ripple effects that extended through the November 2012 election. On Dec. 21, 2011, as Plymouth-Canton students were heading into winter break, Plymouth-Canton Superintendent Jeremy Hughes pulled Waterland after complaints of inappropriate sexual content. The parents also later challenged the use of Toni Morrison's Beloved. While the Plymouth-Canton school board largely declined to get involved …
Monday, February 27, 2012
Canton, Plymouth libraries each plan book discussions tonight.
The debate over whether Graham Swift's Waterland and Toni Morrison's Beloved belong in classrooms at Plymouth-Canton Educational Park appears to have concluded after a committee recommended this month that the district keep Waterland. A separate committee earlier decided to keep Beloved. In the wake of the widespread discussion in the community about both books, the Plymouth District Library and Canton Public Library planned discussions for both books. Tonight, the Plymouth District Library will have a discussion with area college professors about teaching both books, while Canton Public Library will have a special book discussion on Beloved. Both discussions begin at 7 p.m. Canton Public Library also will have a discussion for Waterland …
Friday, February 17, 2012
Committee recommends returning challenged book to AP English classrooms.
Graham Swift's Waterland, a book challenged by two Salem High School parents, will return to Plymouth-Canton classrooms, the district announced today. A nine-member compaint review committee voted to recommend keeping the book in the AP English curriculum. On Dec. 21, 2011, parents Matt and Barb Dame filed a complaint with the district about the use of the text in the Plymouth-Canton Educational Park's advanced placement English courses, citing the book's sexual content. Superintendent Jeremy Hughes immediately pulled the book, but later decided to put the book through the district's review process. The parents also challenged the use of Toni Morrison's Beloved, which was reviewed in January by a separate committee that voted to keep the …
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Committee meets for second time in closed session to discuss challenged book.
A recommendation could be made this week on the use of Graham Swift's Waterland in Plymouth-Canton Community Schools' AP English classrooms. A committee assembled by the school district was scheduled to meet Monday for the second time, following a Feb. 8 public review to hear arguments from Matt and Barb Dame, parents who called for the removal of Waterland and Toni Morrison's Beloved, and district teachers Gretchen Miller and Brian Read. The Dames, citing the books' sexual, violent and thematic content, objected to their inclusion in the teachers' instruction of minors. Monday's scheduled meeting was closed to the public, as the committee deliberates its recommendation, which then will go to Supintendent Jeremy Hughes, who has indicated …
Monday, February 13, 2012
Library joins Canton Public Library to discuss challenged books.
Two area professors will share their experiences of teaching Graham Swift's Waterland and Toni Morrison's Beloved at Plymouth District Library, according to the library's website. The two books recently have been challenged by two Salem High School parents whose daughter is enrolled in the school's AP English Literature program. The parents cited the sexual, violent and thematic content as being inappropriate to teach to minors. Heather Neff, who has served as a faculty member at Eastern Michigan University since 1993, uses Beloved in her curriculum. Neff was the recipient of the 2001 Eastern Michigan University’s Distinguished Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching, the university’s highest instructional honor, according to the website…
Group forms to back teachers in book-challenge debate.
Monday, February 13, 2012
On Jan. 10, a group of parents attended the Plymouth-Canton Community Schools Board of Education meeting. They came because of concern over the effort then underway to ban two critically acclaimed novels, Beloved by Toni Morrison and Waterland by Graham Swift, from the Advanced Placement English course at the Plymouth-Canton Educational Park. That night these parents and other concerned citizens formed the Supporters of Academic Integrity in Plymouth-Canton. Now with well over 200 members and growing, our organization believes that censorship is wrong and that decisions concerning the development of curriculum in our schools should be made by our professionals in the field of education, without consideration of political pressure from …
Friday, February 10, 2012
Canton, Plymouth libraries each report sizable waiting lists for novel at center of PCEP book challenge.
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Friday, February 10, 2012
Those intrigued by the local debate surrounding Graham Swift’s Waterland might have to get in line if they plan to borrow the book from a local library. The book, which drew controversy when it was pulled from Plymouth-Canton’s AP English curriculum in December after a parent complained about its sexual content, has a long waiting list of potential borrowers at both Canton Public Library and Plymouth District Library. Lisa Davis-Craig, who works at Canton Public Library’s information desk, said the waiting list in Canton is at 24 while Plymouth’s library is at 26. Rebecca Havenstein-Coughlin, the Canton library’s adult services department head, said the spike in demand isn’t unusual for a book that has made local headlines. She equated the…
Thursday, February 9, 2012
Committee to offer recommendation to superintendent after closed Feb. 13 meeting.
Graham Swift’s Waterland had its instructional merits argued Wednesday, but its possible reinstatement into AP English classrooms might come too late for this year’s students. The book, which was removed from the AP English syllabus in December by district superintendent Jeremy Hughes after a complaint by Salem High School parents Matt and Barb Dame, underwent a public review by a committee assembled by the district. The review allowed the Dames and the district’s AP English teachers to make arguments for and against reinstating the book before the committee, which will offer a recommendation to Hughes by Feb. 13. In the meantime, the book remains pulled from AP English classrooms. Brian Read, an AP English teacher at Salem High School, …
Friday, February 3, 2012
Tony Lollio says Salem parents had right to object to book, but rhetoric has gotten out of hand.
Friday, February 3, 2012
Editor's note: Tony Lollio is the son of Sharon Lollio, read what her son writes was a "questionable" passage from Beloved in front of Plymouth-Canton school board members during a Jan. 24 board meeting. When Barbara and Matt Dame decided to voice their opinion about the books, Beloved and Waterland in the AP English curriculum on the PCCS campus, they did so as citizens and concerned parents of a student currently enrolled in the class. It should stand to reason then, that their opinion would be treated with the sort of respect that should be the foundation of a society valuing the freedoms of speech and press. What happened to the Dames was something entirely different. A campaign of spoken and written hyperbole about "banning" and "book…
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Jeremy Hughes says he regrets that his decision to pull book has interrupted curriculum.
Plymouth-Canton Superintendent Jeremy Hughes said Monday that if he were to do it again, he would have put Graham Swift’s Waterland through a formal review process instead of pulling it from his district’s AP English Literature classrooms after a Salem High School parent complained in December. Hughes said that while he still objected to the graphic sexual content in the book, he was wrong to pull the book from the classroom and regrets disrupting the curriculum. Hughes also clarified to community members that the district’s school board has not yet weighed in on the issue, despite what he characterized as anger toward the board regarding the book challenge. “There’s no reason for people to blame the board,” Hughes said. At the board’s …