You can’t say that Lisa Baldwin hasn’t fought the good fight over the use of The Kite Runner, which includes graphic homosexual rape scenes, suicide and violent beatings, in her child’s Buncombe county school.
Upon closer inspection during the course of questioning the assignment, Baldwin noted that The Kite Runner had been substituted for a different text, All Quiet On The Western Front.
Mrs. Baldwin then went through the process of challenging the assignment; giving a long list of what bothered her to the school officials. A few parents came to the defense of the book, ignoring the well-stated concerns obvious parental rights issues.
The complaint filed by Baldwin at the school level traveled to the Reynolds High Media/Technology Advisory Committee (MTAC) for review. MTAC voted to approve the use of the book. However, Baldwin filed an appeal and until an appeal took place, the book would be suspended.
It’s worth noting that MTAC’s meeting was held behind closed doors. Mrs. Baldwin communicated to me that her public information requests for the MTAC meeting minutes and vote count have so far been denied. Whether you’re in favor of this book or opposed, the denial of this information to a parent by this committee should give you pause.
Baldwin didn’t let up. There was an appeal filed and it was heard this week before a committee, where the concerns of the parents fell on deaf ears. The committee was made up of 25 administrators and 2 parents and voted to keep the book, despite multiple parents speaking out against the assignment. The story doesn’t end there, it has to now go before the school board for a final decision.
Comments by MTAC’s Larry Weigel and English Language Arts “specialist” Eric Grant, underscore the theme that school systems and officials see children as creatures of the state; they are the ‘experts’ and have the right to impede on parental rights:
Eric Grant, English Language Arts Specialist, “should provide resources representing various points of view on controversial issues so that students as young citizens may develop, under guidance, the skills of critical thinking and critical analysis.”
After committee members discussed their standpoints.
Larry Weigel, Media-Tech Advisory Committee, “I feel that there is merit in this text in a high school curriculum and I support the decision to keep it there.” – WLOS
This appeals meeting was recorded and can be view on YouTube: 6 16 15 The Kite Runner Appeal Special Called Meeting
Around the 11:25 mark, Mrs. Baldwin makes her case. She opens with the following statement:
‘The Kite Runner’ is in the top 10 challenged books of the 21st century for these reasons:
Profanity demeaning to women, inaccurately assigning Judeo-Christian characteristics to a Muslim god, graphic descriptions of rape, child sexual assault, molestation, sodomy, murder, cruelty, and a child’s suicide attempt pervade this fiction book which was written at a 6th grade reading level.
Read the text of her full statement. Consider, that this book was chosen for an honors English class assignment.
Baldwin makes the case that her objection is not censorship. The book is available in the library. This is the objection of a parent and parties using the criteria of a parent objecting to content being called censorship is absurd.
Her objections and concerns included questioning why the teacher was going to compare The Taliban to U.S. police forces and ethnic cleansing of the Hazera race to the deaths of African-Americans in Ferguson and Baltimore.
More comments from citizens are found at the 1:14:40 mark, which just after the debate by the committee on whether to allow such public commentary.
All three citizens who spoke at the meeting questioned the use of the book. The second speaker raised objections with the book, but also with the committee’s “whole process”.