Teacher who defended Little Brother against principal will keep her job!
A Florida principal broke his own rules when he cancelled a summer reading program to avoid kids being exposed to "anti-authoritarian themes" in Cory Doctorow's Little Brother. When Mary Kate Griffith objected, she faced misconduct charges and her job was on the line.
We have all kept quiet about this during the summer, waiting on tenterhooks to learn if Ms Griffith would lose her job for sticking up for the right to read and the insistence on due process when books are challenged. Finally, to all our relief, she has been fully exonerated, and the Escambia County School District superintendent (who read Little Brother and believes it is appropriate for school reading at all grades) hand-delivered the verdict, so that he could apologize in person for her ordeal.
According to Ms Griffith, the superintendent has promised to revamp the process for challenging books because it has "holes" in it -- but as Griffith points out, the process for challenging books was not followed at all, so the cancellation of the One School/One Book program had nothing to do with that process. And what's more, Griffith says that books are sometimes challenged in the school and the process is never invoked.
Today, I'm mailing a signed, limited edition hardcover of Little Brother to the school for their annual charity auction. They have 200 copies, donated by my publisher Tor Teen, and a set of posters with the full text of the book for the library and the English department, donated by Litographs. I've also heard from dozens of Washington students over the summer, and I've sent each one a personalized, PGP-signed ebook version of their own.
The 200 free print copies of Little Brother have been at Booker T Washington High School since last week, and are being distributed directly to students when they pick up their fall schedules.
I'll be doing a videoconference session with the students at Washington this fall, and I'm hoping that we'll be able to record the session and post it online. In the meantime, I'd like to sincerely thank all the people who stood in solidarity with Ms Griffith and the Washington faculty, especially:
* The Professional Educators Network of Florida, who represented Ms Griffith in her disciplinary proceeding, and helped save her job
* The National Coalition Against Censorship, who advised Ms Griffith and organized a broad-based coalition of anti-censorship groups to bring attention to the issue
* The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, who offered invaluable advice to me on supporting Ms Griffith and the Washington High students
* Tor Teen, who donated 200 copies of Little Brother to the students of Booker T Washington High
* Litographs, who donated posters containing the full text of the book to the school
* Josh Costello, who has pledged scripts for his Little Brother stage adaptation for the school's drama department
When I learned that Little Brother had been struck off the school reading list by a principal who hadn't even read it, I was outraged, but I didn't think there was much I could do. After all, without a strong teacher's union, and in a time where jobs are scarce, I could hardly ask the faculty to take on their boss on my behalf.
But what Ms Griffith taught me was that teachers, even those who face dismissal and the breadline, are fearless when it comes to their kids. Ms Griffith knew that she was in the right all along, and was adamant that she would not be intimidated out of speaking out for what was right. The students of Booker T Washington High are fortunate indeed to have such a brave and principled woman running their English department. I can't wait to talk to them!
David Luke, a University of Greenwich psychology lecturer and researcher of high weirdness, has a new book out with the compelling title of Otherworlds: Psychedelics and Exceptional Human Experience. Based on the blurb, it sounds like an absolute trip: A psychonautic scientific trip to the weirdest outposts of the psychedelic terrain, inhaling anything and everything […]
In Paper Girls, the celebrated comics creator Brian K Vaughan (Saga, Y: The Last Man, etc) teams up with Cliff Chiang to tell a story that’s like an all-girl Stranger Things, with time-travel.
To call Shopsin’s “a Greenwich Village institution” was to understate something profound and important and weird and funny: Shopsin’s (first a grocery store, later a restaurant) was a kind of secret reservoir of the odd and wonderful and informal world that New York City once represented, in the pre-Trumpian days of Sesame Street and Times Square sleaze: Tamara Shopsin grew up in Shopsin’s, and Arbitrary Stupid Goal is her new, “no-muss memoir,” is at once charming and sorrowing, a magnificent time-capsule containing the soul of a drowned city.
The TREBLAB X11 Earphones are versatile, offer great sound, and are currently $32.99 in the Boing Boing Store.These Bluetooth earbuds are a great workout companion. They’re totally sweat proof and their ear-fins keep them snugly in place during high activity — something that Apple’s AirPods can only do if you were blessed with precisely the […]
Whether you’re a seasoned entertainment industry veteran or a student working on your first spec script, having the right tool for the job will make a huge difference in your focus and productivity.Final Draft 10 is far and away the world’s best screenwriting software, used extensively by professional film and TV writers at top production […]
Web content creators who don’t have a solid SEO strategy should take note of Webtexttool. It’s a service that pulls in anonymous data from their entire user base to offer crowdsourced guidance that increases your search page ranks. By analyzing prior user successes, it helps you better gauge how your posts will perform at a […]