ATHENS — Clarke County’s school board has decided that its superintendent must reconsider his decision to allow a book in classrooms after it drew objections by parents.
Administrators felt the book should not be removed from schools, and that students can relate to its story. Superintendent Philip Lanoue decided parents could opt out if they didn’t want their children to read “And the Earth Did Not Devour Him” by Tomas Rivera.
The book is the story of a Mexican boy’s life in a migrant family in the 1940s and 1950s, with themes of family life and tensions, getting an education and growing up, according to an email Clarke County Deputy Superintendent Noris Price sent to the parents saying administrators would not remove the book.
“We think the themes listed above speak directly to many of our students,” Price said.
Parents of a seventh-grader had asked school officials to prohibit the book from being part of a class reading list, saying a paragraph in the book is full of offensive language.
Most school board members agreed with the parents and voted 5-2 Thursday to ask the superintendent to reconsider his decision, The Athens Banner-Herald reported.
“It’s got language in there that’s not appropriate for our children to read,” said Chad Lowery at Thursday’s board meeting. “We just don’t think it has any place in our classroom, that kind of language.”
Board members Sarah Ellis and David Huff voted to uphold Lanoue’s decision.
Carol Williams, Charles Worthy, Carl Parks, Linda Davis and Denise Spangler voted to ask Lanoue to reconsider his decision. Two other board members were absent.
“My intent is for this book not to be on the seventh grade reading list,” Davis said