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!
Gibby Haynes, frontman for legendary psych band the Butthole Surfers, penned a young adult novel, “Me and Mr. Cigar,” to be released in January. And no surprise, it sound fantastically far fucking out. I can’t wait to read it. Here’s the description: Seventeen-year-old Oscar Lester is never without his dog, Mr. Cigar. The two have […]
Lynda Barry's "Making Comics" is one of the best, most practical books ever written about creativity
I've been a fan of cartoonist, novelist and memoirist Lynda Barry for decades, long before she was declared a certified genius; Barry's latest book, Making Comics is an intensely practical, incredibly inspiring curriculum for finding, honing and realizing your creativity through drawing and writing.
Archaeologists have found the remnants of a 4,000-year-old “book” in a burial shaft in Dayr al-Barsha, Egypt. The oldest known copy of The Book of Two Ways, the story is related to Osiris, the Egyptian lord of the underworld. From The Brussels Times: (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven archaeologist) Harco Willems describes the document as a collection […]
Knowledge is power. It’s a cliché, but sometimes things turn into a cliché because they’re true. If you’re making your way through the world of business and entrepreneurship, it only makes sense to read about the insights of people who have climbed that ladder before you. Trouble is, the modern workday doesn’t leave a lot […]
As much as some of us fear the loss of our jobs to robots, there’s one job we’re pretty sure they are welcome to: vacuuming. There’s nothing quite like kicking back and watching a robot vacuum do one of the most time-consuming tasks on the household chore list. And there are few ‘bots that do […]
Got some aches that a lazy rubdown won’t put a dent in? Give your muscles an early Christmas with these massage guns. If you’ve never tried one, they’re all designed to bring deep tissue relief, and they’re all at Black Friday prices now. JAWKU Muscle Blaster V2 Cordless Percussion Massage Gun This cordless massager exerts […]