School District No. 7 Board approves controversial book
The Grants Pass School District No. 7 Board during their Tuesday meeting voted to approve a controversial book that the Curriculum Council did not recommend for use in the English Department.
The book, titled “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” was recommended against use in the high school sophomore English curriculum by the council because of sexual content and excessive profanity.
Board Member Gary Penning, who said he use to live near the Indian reservation depicted in the book, said it is a very accurate description of the culture in that region and he did not find the book to be profane. Board members Kathy Luther, Richard Ward and Gary Richardson agreed that the book was not as profane as they had expected once they had read it.
Richardson detracted from the group when he said that although the book didn’t appear obscene to him he could not distinguish any educational merit the book warranted.
Superintendent John Higgins said the decision by the Curriculum Council was not unanimous and the final decision was developed from a desire to protect the board from any parental backlash. He added that the suggestion to use the book in the school’s curriculum was developed by the English Language Arts Department who felt the book provided students insight into other cultures.
The vote was 4-1 with the nay vote coming from Richardson.
The 2014-15 fiscal year budget was also passed unanimously with little discussion.