The book wars continue unabated in the United States of America when once again a teacher who inspired her students, and go them reading, was suspended because students were reading materials that related to their lives instead of being spoon-fed books that had no relevancy to contemporary existence. Connie Heermann, who has taught for 27 years, had her students read the Freedom Writers Diary, which depicts how an inner city teacher turned her students on to reading and writing and was subsequently made into a film with Hillary Swank.
Ms. Heermann, obtained consent forms from about 150 parents and found her students were excited about the book which they found connected to their own lives. After, she handed out the book, the school board sent her an email ordering her not to have students read the material. “That was the pivotal moment of m y life when I saw how my students were taken with the book, how they loved it, and then I am told not to let them read it? I said no.”
I have been in education for over 50 years and personally encountered a similar situation and know of dozens of wonderful teachers who faced suspension or firing because they turned their students on to thinking and reading. Fortunately, the school board provided students with a wonderful lesson in freedom of speech and reading.