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Dear LM_NETTERS:
        Thanks so much for your helpful responses to the Harry Potter
challenge at my school.  Iím sorry itís taken me so long to put this
hit together.  To recap, a parent objected to a classroom teacher
using Harry Potter as a read aloud.  We had an initial meeting with
the parent, the teacher, the principal, and me, as library media
specialist.  When I requested this hit, I was looking for helpful
information for the meeting.
        At the meeting, the parent expressed her concerns.  The principal
explained the reconsideration policy, but the parent declined to fill
out the paperwork or appear before the school board.  She appeared to
be satisfied that the teacher discusses the reading with the students,
including their own ideas of what is right and wrong.
        One of the most useful suggestions I received was to contact the ALA
Office of Intellectual Freedom.  They sent me a packet specifically
for Harry Potter challenges, which I am saving in case of future need.
        I suppose everyone has to go through a challenge sometime, and I feel
very fortunate that it ended this way, with all parties being very
civil to each other, and the book still on the shelf.  I am very
thankful to work in a school with such a supportive and intelligent
principal (and no, she doesnít read this list!)
Anyway, hereís the hit.  Thanks again.
Sylvia L. Adair, K-8 Library Media Specialist,
Lomira, Wisconsin

*****
If you have access to the Lutheran Standard, the periodical put out by
the ELCA, there is a short article encouraging adults and children
reading Harry Potter in the last issue.

*****

Our school system solved this problem by decreeing that we cannot read
the
story in class or make it a class assignment, but what they select
from the
library is their own business...

*****
In order to get a better perspective as to why the Harry Potter books
are
being challenged, you might want to look at the article entitled
"Harry Potter's Hocus-Pocus" in The NEW AMERICAN, Vol. 16,
No. 18, August 28, 2000.

It can be found at:  http://www.thenewamerican.com/website/search.htm

I quote from the article, "Millions of kids formerly interested only
in video
games are now reading, thanks to the unprecedented popularity of the
Harry
Potter books -- but there are some red flags."

*****

>   This woman claims that Harry Potter books have been banned in
> several states

Sylvia,
    One could argue as reasonably--which is to say not reasonably at
all--that Christianity was banned, historically, in several regions;
that
women were prohibited from voting for ages; that simply because one
has a
minority opinion/perspective, it must ever be wrong.  Such an (flat
Earth)
argument would point back at the very one arguing, leaving her out in
the
cold--and that is not her hope, eh?
    Bottom line, it is certainly appropriate--and critical--to hold
one's
critics to account for their reasoning, or lack thereof.  Invite a
reasoned
discussion of the true issues (as I see you are engaged in achieving),
and
insist that you and your program be respected in the meantime.

*****
I know that last week on this serve someone was negative about the
Shafer
book.  I got it from Barnes and Noble on line in 2 days.  It has some
excellent material to refute the satanist stuff.  Shows how Rawling
uses her
characters to fight good and evil much like parts of the bible etc.  I
think
it would be a good source of info to help you clear up some things.  A
bunch
of good "stuff" on Rowlings background and purpose.  i.e.:  Using "he
who
will not be mentioned"  is symbolic of the people in Cuba who make a
stroking gesture on their chins to indicate they are talking about
Castro
etc.  Good luck

*****

I am new to the list serve so I'm not sure if I am doing this right
but I read
your posting regarding the Harry Potter Books.  My  district is made
up of
three elementary schools K-6.  We use a program called "Accelerated
Reader."  This program is to get kids to kid more and it is working.
A
student reads a book which has a point value and then takes a test on
the
computer about the story.  The books are ranked according to grade
level
and difficulty.  The Harry Potter books are on the "Honor List"
because of
their level of difficulty.  But the point is they are included in this
program.

*****

Isn't it the responsibility of the challenger to prove his or her
statements are true and not slanderous?  I don't agree that it is your
responsibility to disprove an untruth.  You may wish to contact ALA
for
help.

Here are a couple sites that may help you:
http://www.mugglesforharrypotter.org/
This site had this statement:  Harry Potter books have been challenged
in at least 13 states, according to the American Library Association.
Most of those challenges are still pending or have been resolved
without
imposing restrictions. However, the Zeeland, Michigan, school district
has banned read alouds, removed the books from display in elementary
school libraries and requires parental permission to check out the
books
or use them for book reports. (More information about the Zeeland,
Michigan, case.) There are also reports of banning in school districts
in Colorado and Kansas.

http://yabooks.about.com/teens/yabooks/bl_potter.htm

http://maxpages.com/hogwarts8897 - this is interesting because the
webmaster (who says he/she is Christian) gets too much negative mail.

http://www.mikids.com/harrypotter/  This site has a link to "Christian
Thoughts," which has an interesting article by a minister:
http://www.thehollandsentinel.net/stories/110699/rel_casevk.html

*****

Keep us posted.  My Principal is the one pulling my books from the
library.

*****

Have you contacted Office of Intellectual Freedom at ALA in Chicago:
oif@ala.org
www.ala.org
They're helpful and prompt.

*****

We had a parent object to the book being read aloud last year.  The
teacher
was reading the book as "reading enrichment".  After conferring with
me and
our principal we determined that the student could use the same time
for his
reading enrichment by joining our special reading teacher in her
classroom
and enjoy a book of "his" (parents?) choice on his own for the time
the
teacher was reading aloud in the classroom.  I was pleased with this
arrangement.  The student was supplied with an alternative activity
and the
other 21 students were not deprived of a story that had them spell
bound.
The teacher told me later she had never read a book that her students
enjoyed more.  They used sequencing skills to review the events before
reading that day's selection.  She said she had never had a class do
so well
with their sequencing skills!  I was always amused to see that student
wearing his multiple versions of WWF Smack Down t-shirts.  I guess
some
forms of fantasy are o.k.
Good luck.

*****

Check out mugglesforharrypotter.com, especially the link "In Defense
of
Harry." They keep up with HP challenges and should be helpful

*****

If you have not found this website, its a good one.
<www.mikids.com/harrypotter  Click on "Christian Thoughts" and "Ban
Harry".
There are good links here to several articles that might help.

*****

Have you checked with the american Library Association's Office for
Intellectual Freedom?  They track challenges and they would have
information on where Harry Potter books have been censored.  There was
one school where it was censored and the teachers asked to have the
decision reconsidered and the school now has the book again.  ALAs web
site is http://www.ala.org

*****

If you don't have a selection policy and a policy in place for
challenges,
now is the time to make them.  When a book is challenged, only the
book
should be discussed, not the author.  If you would like, I would be
happy to
send you copies of our district's policies.  It does help.  Our
district has
100 sites and we average about 2-3 challenges a year.  We have never
pulled
a book.

*****
Good luck to you - we have a really supportive principal too but the
district still has forbidden classroom use of Harry Potter, displays
in
classroom, and wearing apparel related to HP by teachers.
    Fortunately no one seems to care what the library does so we still
talk,
walk, wear and display as we wish and the books remain on the shelves.
    This is a very useful site and I have several print-outs on
subject at
work that I can fax you if you wish.

<A HREF="http://mugglesforharrypotter.org/">Click here: Muggles for
Harry
Potter</A> @ http://mugglesforharrypotter.org/
Good Luck!

*****

Turn the negative around and ask the challenger to provide proof that
J.
K. Rowling is a satanist and that Harry Potter has been banned in
other
states.  Put the burden of proof on the challenger.  Remind the
committee
that hearsay and rumors should never be counted in determining the
outcome of any challenge.  Show the committee that "The Onion" piece
(it's on their web site) has run a satirical piece on Harry Potter and
that many people are circulating this hoax around the country as fact,
including many responsible pastors.  This should reduce the fear in
the
room.  Second, demonstrate that Harry Potter is like any other fantasy
book.  It has the great themes of fiction - good vs. evil (good always
wins), kids coming of age, friendship, etc.  If it is banned then
should
the committee ban all fairy tales and other fantasy books like The
Wizard
of Oz, Robin Hood, King Arthur, Narnia series, etc. because they have
the
same themes?  Third, pull out the Christian Library Journal review of
the
first three Harry Potter books (it's online).  Show the committee that
even Christian schools have Harry Potter on their shelves.

*****

You may have already seen these, but there are several review sources
at my
site:  www.bellaonline.com/career/professions/library_resources
It includes an article about The Onion email.
*****
Don't your selection policies require her to furnish proof of claims?
If
not, they should.   While having your own facts and information is
great to
back up the reasons to have Harry, I would hope that no evaluation
committee
would accept her statements without her provided written proof.

****
Again, thanks to all the respondents, whose names have been removed to
protect the helpful.
Sylvia L. Adair, K-8 Library Media Specialist
Lomira, Wisconsin
adair@execpc.com

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