Coeur d'Alene school may ban 'Of Mice and Men'

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COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho (AP) — Some Coeur d'Alene parents are taking on the American classics.

A curriculum review committee in the northern Idaho city has recommended that the district remove John Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men" from high school classrooms.

The school board will vote on the recommendation next month, reports the Spokesman-Review of Spokane, Washington ( ).

"The story is neither a quality story nor a page turner," said review board member and parent Mary Jo Finney.

Finney says the book is unsuitable for freshmen because it uses profanity like "bastard" and "God damn." She counted 102 profanities in the novella's 110 pages.

"The teachers actually had the audacity to have students read these profanities out loud in class," said Finney, who has objected to other books in the Coeur d'Alene School District curriculum in the past.

"Of Mice and Men" is one of the most challenged books of the century, according to the American Library Association. But it's also one of the best known works by the Nobel Prize- and Pulitzer Prize-winning author.

"Nobody's banning books or burning books," said School Board Trustee Dave Eubanks, a non-voting member of the committee. "There was just too darn much cussing. It was on almost every single page of the novella."

He thinks reclassifying "Of Mice and Men" as an optional book for freshmen is a reasonable compromise in a community where families are trying to raise their children "with traditional family values and traditional religious values."

But others, like City Librarian Bette Ammon, said the words Steinbeck chose accurately portrayed how the characters of that time and place would have spoken to each other.

She said she's disappointed that the school is considering removing the 1937 book about two migrant ranch hands struggling during the great depression.

The review board was also concerned with the book's plot, which member Eugene Marano said is "too dark for ninth graders."


Information from: The Spokesman-Review,

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