The Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District in Palmervoted in April to scratch five books off the district's curriculum for high school English elective courses. On Wednesday, six members voted in favor of rescinding that vote and taking another look at the proposed curriculum and books.The books the board had voted against were F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby"; Ralph Ellison's "Invisible Man"; Joseph Heller's "Catch-22"; Tim O'Brien's "The Things They Carried"; and Maya Angelou's "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings." The books were deemed controversial because of concepts including sexual references, rape, racial slurs, scenes of violence and profanity, according to the district's Office of Instruction. Angelou's book, the office said, includes "sexually explicit material such as the sexual abuse the author suffered as a child" as well as "'anti-white' messaging."
The board's April vote drew backlash from hundreds of community membersand residents across the US as well asorganizations like the American Civil Liberties Union. A famous band even chimed in to say it'd send the removed books for free to any student in the district who wanted them. In a board meeting earlier this month, dozens testified against the decision. And during the board's latest meeting, at least 80 cars showedup outside the district's building to protest, according to Wasilla resident Denile Ault, who was there. Nearly 600 tuned in to the meeting's livestream. Sabrena Combs, Palmer City Council member, told CNN that she was pleased with the "small victory" but said she recognized "we have a long road ahead of us to ensure curriculum for our students is to the standard we desire as parents and community members.""At this point, I feel the access to important works of literature for students and teachers is being threatened as the majority of the school board wishes to revisit this topic within the next year," she added. Residents of the community have said last month's vote was no different than banning the books, but board members doubled down Wednesday on the fact that the books would still be accessible and could still be read by students on their own time."The school board did not ban the books, did not preclude their use by teachers and did not remove tRead More – Source