PFAW Foundation President Urges Georgia School Board to Reject Blanket Ban on Profanity

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 5, 2001

Contact: Nathan Richter or Tracy Duckett at PFAW Foundation

Email: [email protected]

Phone Number: 202-467-4999

People For the American Way Foundation’s president today called on members of a Georgia County school board to reject a proposed policy that would ban “any instructional program or activity” that contains “profanity.”

On Sept. 10, the Glynn County School Board will take up the proposed policy, which supposedly is aimed at fostering character education. The policy was raised, according to local press reports, by a board member who also called on the board to order the district’s schools to stop teaching J.D. Salinger’s literary classic, Catcher in the Rye.

In a two-page letter sent to all the school board members, Ralph G. Neas, PFAW Foundation’s president, urged the members not to adopt the policy, describing it as detrimental to the students’ education.

“The school board should not be in the business of book banning,” Neas states. “In short, the proposed policy would prevent teachers from doing their jobs properly, and it would prevent students from obtaining the education to which they are entitled.”

Neas’s letter notes that if the policy were adopted, its effect would be to ban from school classroom discussion an array of classic works, including To Kill a Mockingbird and Shakespeare plays. He urged school board members to allow educators to evaluate materials as a whole, rather than on individual words taken out of context.

“This policy would reach far beyond curbing gratuitous use of profanity,” Neas said. “It is so broad, it would essentially prevent Glynn County students from studying all kinds of literature or film. The proposed policy is unwise and potentially harmful to students’ education and should be defeated by the board.”

Among PFAW Foundation’s missions are strengthening public education and defending First Amendment Freedoms. For many years, PFAW Foundation has assisted parents and students whose schools have come under attack by would-be censors bent on barring students from reading books they deem offensive or improper for study.

Click here to read the letter.

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