The Meridian School Board voted 2-1, with one trustee absent and the chair only voting to break a tie, to keep The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian off the Meridian School District's supplemental reading list. It dismissed an earlier committee's recommendation that the book remain on the list, but accessible to students with a parent or guardian's permission.
The Board made its decision after more than 2 hours of public testimony. During the summer months, the Board will reconsider Diary's place on supplemental reading lists and seek a suitable replacement for the book that covers Native American themes at a higher reading level.
But for Ryndy Williams, a parent of three Rocky Mountain High School graduates and an organizer against attempts to remove the Harry Potter series from Meridian schools, the decision to remove the book from the supplemental reading list was appeasement of a vocal group that wanted the book off the list for its use of foul language and references to masturbation.
"The only emotion that was really there was the opposition. There were a lot of young ladies who were in near-hysteria about how impure the book was," she said.
"I'm a little bit aghast at how things went down. It just kind of floors me," she said.
The grandparent of a Rocky Mountain High School student in Meridian may result in changes to a student reading list.
Following a formal complaint filed by the grandparent against The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, for the book's use of cursing and sexual references, a committee was formed to consider the complaint and possible solutions. Its decision was to keep the book as one of five books sophomores may read to meet reading requirements, but in the future, students will have to get the signature from a parent or guardian to receive a copy of the book from the school.
The committee's recommendation must now be approved by the Meridian School District before it takes effect, but before the ruling, parents can give testimony tonight at 6 p.m. at the District Service Center, located at 1303 E. Central Drive in Meridian.
The place of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian on readings lists has frequently been challenged by parents for the book's strong language and sexual themes.