Fond du Lac parents want controversial book out of class
Angelou account of rape stirs objections
The Associated Press
FOND DU LAC — Some Fond du Lac parents have asked school officials to remove former U.S. poet laureate Maya Angelou's autobiography from the high school curriculum.
Students at Fond du Lac High School read "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" in sophomore advanced English classes.
But some parents have objected to passages that describe Angelou's rape and subsequent unwanted pregnancy. About 80 people attended a meeting Tuesday at the school this week to discuss the book and the request to remove it.
School Superintendent Gregory Maass said the initial complaint came from one family. "We had a mother and father and student who questioned the book," he said. "The high school provided the student with an alternative book."
The parents were not satisfied and asked for the book to be removed from the curriculum, Maass said.
Fond du Lac High School Principal Mary Fran Merwin said parents, teachers, principals and at least two ministers spoke at the meeting, where no decision was made. She said the school has used the book for a decade.
"It is Angelou's own account of growing up," Merwin said. "It has a number of attributes, and it's a historically relevant story about a black woman growing up in the United States."
School board president Gary Sharpe said the request was the first to remove a book in his eight years on the board. A school committee will make a decision on the book, and if parents remain unhappy, they can appeal to the superintendent and school board, he said.
Well, a good old-fashioned book-banning! But in classic, reserved Wisconsin style.
The question, as always, with Government-Funded Compulsory Matriculation Centers is this: if parents are unhappy with the curriculum at the GFCMC's, where can they turn without additional financial hardship?