"Chocolate War" revisited
Harford County Public Schools superintendent, Jacqueline C. Haas will present her decision on the use of a controversial novel, The Chocolate War Monday. It's listed as a presentation item on Monday's Board of Edu. meeting agenda.
The Chocolate War is on the American Library Association's list of the top 10 challenged books and was banned last year by Haas after about 40 parents complained about vulgar language and homophobic slurs. The 1974 teen-oriented novel is about a boy who is bullied because he refuses to participate in his school's chocolate-selling fundraiser. The book was used in a 9th grade course called Living in a Contemporary World, that is designed to ease the transition to high school and part of the course dealt with bullying and its destructive effects.
According to a Sun editorial from April, "...when some parents protested against the book, Ms. Haas quickly announced that a review committee including teachers, administrators, students, parents and community members would help determine whether The Chocolate War should remain as part of the course. In February, the committee unanimously recommended that it should.
But Ms. Haas unilaterally decided that the controversy over the book made it unusable at this time, took bullying and harassment out of the LICW (Living in a Contemporary World) course and wants another committee to take another year to come up with an alternative literary selection."
The second committee convened three times and has made its recommendation to Haas. She will issue her decision Monday.
Some accused Haas of trying to "sanitize" reality, by banning a book that dealt with issues faced in high school. Others supported her decision saying that the book was offensive and controversial, thus didn't belong in a school environment. Either way... stay tuned.