Ban on gay teen book rescinded in Washington state school district

From News
Banned Gay Book Being Returned To School Library
by Newscenter Staff
Posted: December 16, 2005 5:00 pm ET

(University Place, Washington) A book about gay teens removed last month from the University Place school district’s library shelves following parents’ complaints is going back to school.

The University Place school board endorsed the superintendent’s decision to return “Geography Club” to the Curtis High School library, but not the library at Curtis Junior High.
Superintendent Patti Banks says after talks with community members, students and people across the country she decided the book is O-K for older students, but not eighth- and ninth-graders.

The book was pulled from both schools because of concerns it could induce students to meet strangers through the Internet.
Despite her “split decision” the recommendation is a marked departure from statements she made when the book was banned in November. (story)

At that time she said she was alarmed by the “romanticized” portrayal of a teen meeting a stranger at night in a park after meeting the person — revealed to be a gay classmate — in an Internet chatroom.
Banks claimed that she was not anti-gay but was concerned about meeting people in chatrooms.

“We want to send a strong consistent message to all our students that meeting individuals via the Internet is extremely high-risk behavior,” she said last month.

In the 2003 book, by by Brent Hartinger of Tacoma, a teenager thinks he’s the only gay student in his high school until he learns that his online, gay chatroom buddy is a popular athlete at his school. The teen meets others, and they form the school Geography Club, thinking the name will be so boring no one else will join.

Banks had “Geography Club” withdrawn from Curtis Junior High and Curtis Senior High school libraries after a University Place couple with children in both schools filed a written complaint Oct. 21 asking the district to remove the book.

“Geography Club” is one of 10 nominees for the Evergreen Young Adult Book Award 2006. It’s received favorable reviews and been placed on numerous adolescent reading lists.

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