Image © Austin Cline
Library of Congress
The parent, Alton Verm, says that the book is filed with "all kinds of filth," although he hasn't even read it himself. I guess he just skimmed through and saw some things he didn't like. So rather than simply objecting to his own daughter reading it, he doesn't want anyone to read it. The fact that he's trying to suppress a book about the suppression of books doesn't seem to matter.
"The book had a bunch of very bad language in it," Diana Verm said. "It shouldn't be in there because it's offending people. ... If they can't find a book that uses clean words, they shouldn't have a book at all."
Alton Verm filed a "Request for Reconsideration of Instructional Materials" Thursday with the district regarding "Fahrenheit 451," written by Ray Bradbury and published in 1953. He wants the district to remove the book from the curriculum.
"It's just all kinds of filth," said Alton Verm, adding that he had not read "Fahrenheit 451." "The words don't need to be brought out in class. I want to get the book taken out of the class."
Source: Montgomery County Courier
Apparently, this school district hasn't had any other books challenged for at least the last four years — so this is the first in quite a while and it's quite an interesting choice for censorship efforts. There's no way the request to remove the book entirely will be honored. All that will happen is that more attention will be drawn to it — and, hopefully, it's theme about the suppression of books.
He looked through the book and found the following things wrong with the book: discussion of being drunk, smoking cigarettes, violence, "dirty talk," references to the Bible and using God's name in vain. He said the book's material goes against their religions beliefs. The Verms go to Grand Parkway Church in Porter.
"We want them to go after God," said Glen Jalowy Jr., Grand Parkway Church youth minister. "We encourage them that what you put in your mind and heart is what comes out."
What's curious is the fact that similarly bad behavior can be found in the Bible itself. If being exposed to such material means that a book should be removed from a school, then perhaps all copies of the Bible should be removed from the school library as well. I don't think that we'll be seeing that happen any time soon, though.
"Fahrenheit 451" is a science fiction piece that poses a warning to society about the preservation and passing on of knowledge as well as asks the question about whether the government should do the thinking for the people, [Chris Hines, CISD assistant superintendent for secondary education.] stated in an e-mail to The Courier. Other themes include conformity vs. individuality, freedom of speech and the consequences of losing it, the importance of remembering and understanding history and technology as help to humans and as hindrances to humans, Hines stated in the e-mail.
"They're not reading books just to read them," Hines said in a telephone interview. "They're reading it for a purpose. ... We respect people's rights to express their concerns and we have a policy in place to handle that."
If the irony here isn't already thick enough, the request to remove this book from classes occurred the week after "Banned Books Week," a week dedicated to celebrate people's right to choose what to read and the right to publish what you want. A basic theme of the week is to highlight all of the books which people have tried to suppress and censor of the years — including more recent attempts, like this.
Free Speech & Freedom of Expression: