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School Board considers ban of ‘The Kite Runner’ UPDATE

3 January 2012 General 49 Comments Email This Post Email This Post

The book banners never sleep. I’ve received a note that the Valley View School Board in Jonesboro will meet at 5:30 p.m. today while others watch football games to consider two complaints from school district residents about the teaching of “The Kite Runner” to honors English classes. As you might know, “good Christians” do not countenance literature that presents Muslim people in anything but an unflattering light.

We reported on this controversy earlier. The ACLU is keeping watch. Some School Board members had taken a “middle ground.” Let the book be read, but not aloud.

UPDATE: A Jonesboro correspondent reports that the board met to hear the complaints, but took no action, thus leaving the curriculum including the book in place. The public was invited to speak but only supporters of the book spoke. A round of applause followed the board’s decision to take no action, I was told.

A note before the meeting from ASU professor Norm Stafford and ACLU Board member about tonight’s meeting. There’s still time to join the throng on the side of free expression:

I am writing to urge you to attend a special meeting of the Valley View School Board tonight, Monday, January 2nd at 5:30 pm, at the office of the superintendent on the Valley View campus.The Board will decide on the complaints of two patrons opposing the teaching of Khaled Hosseneini’s The Kite Runner to senior English classes. The book has won numerous awards and is a novel recounting the redemption of a man, who as a young boy witnessed his male friend being sexually assaulted and out of fear did nothing. The novel provides insight into modern Afghanistan and the effects of war on the area and its people as well as into the brutal Taliban.

Although the central goal of those complaining is to eliminate this single text from the curriculum, they have support of strong religious forces in the area and want a homogenized curriculum. In a story in the Jonesboro Sun , one of those complaining said that students’ belief that America is one country under God would be undermined by reading the novel.

The teacher, whose abilities I know and respect, has taught the novel in the past, and now her job is at stake.

The announcement for this called meeting appeared on page 7 of the Sun on December 31st. It appears that the Valley View Board and those opposing the teaching of the novel want the issue addressed with as little publicity as possible.

Those opposing the teaching of the novel will be out in force. Those wishing to prevent this censorship need to be present as well. Please let others know of this meeting and its time and place.


Norman Stafford

Original post: School Board considers ban of ‘The Kite Runner’ UPDATE


  1. Welcome to the police state of America.

  2. ?????

  3. What the hell?

  4. Good grief! That’s a beautiful book! Obviously, these rednecks haven’t read it.

  5. > those friggin’ bundist !

  6. 2 complaints? The school board should just ignore the complaints.

  7. If they don’t like “The Kite Runner,” they’ll really hate “A thousand brilliant suns,” Khaled Hosseini’s second novel. She gives a brilliant view of life in Afghanistan. And just BTW, if we are sending our troops to live, eat, breathe, fight and die in Afghanistan, should we not be just a little curious about the people and their country?

  8. What a disgrace that they would ban that book (or any book), I also don’t think that their attempt to do so will survive a court challenge.

  9. Really?? Book banning? Are these people serious?

  10. “witnessed his male friend being sexually assaulted and out of fear did nothing” sounds like the entire Penn State football program. Throw those guys in jail first then we can talk, society.

  11. Oh. My. God. Dude, seriously, this book was really good, what the hell dude.

  12. what?!?! this book is beautiful, that is so silly.

  13. My daughter read this in HS. I was surprised by how graphic it was, however, she was deeply moved by the story and she felt that she learned a lot.

  14. Not a huge fan of that book, but there is no legitimate reason to call for its ban, seriously. The only part of the book that could be deemed at all offensive is the child rape scene, and guess what? Shit like that happens.

  15. A wonderful book and so was her second…let’s share and advertise for her!!!!!

  16. What’s wrong with the kite runner ? Hew

  17. banning any book is a violation of our right for free speech.

  18. SO tired of American phobias and foolishness. There is much to be learned from other people and cultures. Hosseini’s books demonstrate despite our differences, we are all the same . . . he is an excellent author with valid stories to tell. America, get over yourself!

  19. that was a good book..

  20. perhaps if the book banners actually read the book from cover to cover I would be willing to talk with them but most often they have only read passages that have been pointed out to them as being offensive in some way. The book is brilliant!

  21. If I had children, I would REQUIRE them to read this book when they were in high school. We’d all read it together and discuss it. It’s a book about personal responsibility and family obligations and what family really is and… oh, I just could go on and on. I hope the sane people of Jonesboro turn out to talk about this wonderful, important book.

  22. If The Color Purple and I Know Why a Caged Bird Sings are acceptable as post of the canon (both contain rape scenes–and both read by me in high school) then this book should not be a problem. Or is it rape of women is acceptable?

  23. just an fyi the author of the book is male. and the second book is called “A thousand Splendid Suns”. and both the books r the best books i have ever read. the movie was not so good compared to the book.

  24. You’ve got to be kidding!

  25. Um, why? This is a fantastic book that should be read!

  26. What’s next? Three Cups of Tea?

  27. an insightful read…pity anyone would think of banning it…

  28. Also, I had to read “To Kill a Mocking Bird” in my Freshman English class, which had it’s fair share of n-bombs and brutal scenes. Not to mention a guy being tried for rape. I don’t see why “Kite Runner” is so offensive?

  29. It’s ok because more people read banned books because they are curious. Also it’s a free publicity of the book

  30. Sickening and beyond belief.

  31. That is the MOST amazing book I’ve read, EVER, and not only that, religion isn’t even its main theme. Bunch of bigots.

  32. “one of those complaining said that students’ belief that America is one country under God would be undermined by reading the novel.” These bigots don’t seem to realize that A. this is a secular country and B. Muslims, Christians, and Jews all worship the same God of Abraham.

  33. good show on not banning it, school board

  34. There is no reason why the Kite Runner should be banned. This is on the college AP reading list from Princeton. I just read this book as a Senior, while other schools in my area read it as Sophomores. This book is an insight to the real world outside of America. Do these people really want to turn into the society noted in Fahrenheit 451?

  35. OMG-I loved that book. I didn’t want it to end.

  36. Penalty is excessive, but he as an American gun owner should be responsible like the rest of us and make sure to know the laws in the area.

  37. This book Is brilliant and there is no way it should be banned!

  38. This is not worthy of our time, and shows a tendency to over dramatize on the part of IT. A school board was asked to ban the book, and they refused to ban it. Well, good for them! It is a great book, but I would not want my son reading it until age 13 or so.

    Requests to ban books are made all of the time, and have been made for hundreds of years. It is interesting to note that this book is NOT banned in the US, but the movie is banned in Afghanistan.

  39. I hope I write a book that gets banned somewhere! Though looking over the lists of banned books it would probably happen to me by accident for insulting some king or something. But hey, free publicity. Every time I read about a book that might be banned around here I want to go straight out and read it if I haven’t and I know other people are the same way.

  40. Never understood book banning. How do these school boards expect young people to expand horizons and become familiar with other ideas, customs, etc? Stupid.

  41. kite runner is an excellent book

  42. I have some former students who served in the military and were required to read both books (Kite,1000). I enjoyed both books. Only ignorant people would try to ban this book. But people even tried to ban Harry Potter books- yet now the same people see the movies.

  43. What happnd to freedom of press

  44. Kite Runner is one book that moved me to tears. It has emotional impact. A thousand splendid suns is also amazing. I know some books are banned due to content like “harry potter” (witchcraft), but let it be about the rape of boys…not the religion that is featured in the book….and even then other books not banned have rape scenes…so this is a bit ridiculous to say the least…kids read much worse online….and watch porn online.

  45. That’s weird considering my Honors class read it right before break. Banning books is ridiculous.

  46. give me a break…..

  47. “Make morning into a key and throw it into the well, Go slowly, my lovely moon, go slowly. Let the morning sun forget to rise in the east, Go slowly, my lovely moon, go slowly.”

  48. from Khaled Hosseini’s ‘The Kite Runner’.

  49. DO NOT BAN BOOKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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