The answer to the “What’s Next?” question above: sharia. via Lane Tech Students Protest CPS Stance on ‘Persepolis’ – DNAinfo.com Chicago.
ROSCOE VILLAGE — Nearly 100 Lane Tech students and teachers stood outside in the rain Friday afternoon to protest the CPS decision to remove copies of the graphic novel “Persepolis” from the district’s seventh-grade classrooms, and to reassess whether the book can be taught to upper grades.
Cars, trucks and buses honked as they passed the crowd gathered at the corner of Western Avenue and Addison Street, signaling solidarity with signs reading “Free Persepolis” and “Homework for CPS: Read the First Amendment.”
Lane teachers were still smarting from the CPS directive, issued Wednesday from central office, to confiscate copies of the book, and the initial confusion over whether the ban extended to libraries.
“We still don’t know who made the decision or why it was made. English teachers weren’t asked their professional opinion. Nobody was included. That is not how democracy works,” said Steve Parsons, Lane Tech teacher and Chicago Teachers Union delegate.
“If we had received a message that said, ‘After much reflection….’ There was nothing. They came in the middle of a school week, in the middle of the day. It was so arbitrary.”
In a letter to principals released on Friday, CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett said that the notice to remove the book from the district’s seventh-grade curriculum came after “It was brought to our attention that it contains graphic language and images that are not appropriate for general use” for that age group.
While saying, “We are not banning this book from our schools,” Byrd-Bennett instructed principals: “If your seventh-grade teachers have not yet taught this book, please ask them not to do so and to remove any copies of the book from their classrooms.”
“I think it’s back pedaling. I think they’re being spin doctors,” said a Lane Tech teacher who asked not to be identified.
In a statement to media, the Chicago Teachers Union noted: “CPS is now claiming ‘Persepolis’ is banned only from the 7th grade classroom but will be available in school libraries. Unfortunately 160 elementary schools don’t have libraries. We support our educators who are fighting to ensure their students have access to ideas about democracy, freedom of speech and self-image.”
“Persepolis” is an autobiographical graphic novel written by Marjane Satrapi and originally published in France. It describes the author’s childhood in Iran in the 1970s and ’80s as she lived through the Islamic Revolution and the war with Iraq.
The book has been taught at Lane Tech for at least the past five years, said another Lane teacher, who also preferred to remain anonymous.
“I think it’s an important book” in the way it examines Islam, Iran, culture and history, said the teacher.
More via chicagoist.com
Publishers Weekly spoke with CPS office of teaching and learning chief Annette Gurley who confirmed that, while Byrd-Bennett rescinded the order to have the book pulled from libraries, it would not be returning to classrooms in grades 7-10 for now.
“We want to make sure that the message about inhumanity [is what] kids walk away with, not the images of someone with exposed body parts urinating on someone’s back or someone’s being tortured,” Gurley said, “We are not protesting the value of this book as a work of art. We just want to make sure that when we put this book into the hands of students, they have the background, the maturity to appreciate the book.”“That book will not be back in place as required reading for grades 7-10 until the support is put in place. We want to put the support in place so that the content of this book can be accessed. I don’t think that happens by putting a book on a list and letting people discover it. There needs to be preparation for that,” she added.
Translated: Teachers will be trained by Muslims on the correct way to portray Islam to students so as not to offend Islam and obfuscate the author’s points.
In a letter to principals this morning, Byrd-Bennett wrote:
“It was brought to our attention that it contains graphic language and images that are not appropriate for general use in the seventh grade curriculum. If your seventh grade teachers have not yet taught this book, please ask them not to do so and to remove any copies of the book from their classrooms.”
A Lane Tech student emailed Satrapi of the situation and a protest was scheduled for this afternoon outside the high school. Satrapi told the Tribune the directive by Byrd-Bennett was “shameful” and not what she normally envisioned of Chicago.
Persepolis received universal praise when it was released in 2003, but it has been banned in Iran, the United Arab Emirates and Lebanon for being blasphemous to Islam.
Add Chicago to the list. The animated flick is available on Youtube for those who haven’t seen it and those Lane Tech students who have been banned from reading it.
Meanwhile, State Department Ducks Hearing on American Pastor Imprisoned in Iran.
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