Books Banned in North Texas School District during National Banned Books Week

DALLAS, Texas — Highland Park Independent School District (ISD) in the Dallas metro area yanked seven books off its approved high school English literature reading list following parent outcry, according to the Dallas Morning News.

Those books were The Art of Racing in the Rain, The Working Poor: Invisible in America, Siddhartha, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, An Abundance of Katherines, The Glass Castle: A Memoir, and Song of Solomon. The last, Christian Science Monitor reported as President Barack Obama’s favorite all-time novel in 2008.

The books in question contained a variety of themes and content that parents found objectionable including sexuality, rape, abortion, vulgar language, alcoholism, mental illness, and incest, the Dallas Morning News also reported.

Breitbart Texas spoke to Highland Park ISD Communications Director Helen Williams who clarified that of the seven titles, only six were of issue because the complaint against the nonfiction The Glass Castle: A Memoir has been dropped. This book chronicles author Jeanette Walls’ upbringing in a dysfunctional home with parents who struggled with financial problems, alcoholism and mental illness.

Williams also said that The Art of Racing In The Rain, a novel told through a dog’s point-0f-view, was the only book actually in use in a high school classroom and has since been suspended, pending further investigation.

She also pointed out, “One of the misconceptions is that the books are banned. They aren’t banned. They are under review, voicing the similar sentiments from district superintendent Dawson Orr and Highland Park High School (HPHS) principal Walter Kelly, who have addressed these hot-button issues with their families in a September 24 Constant Contact online communication in which they pledged to resolve the questionable book problem.

“We are committed to appointing committee members who represent a variety of viewpoints. We anticipate approximately 10 members per committee with representatives including parents, faculty and staff and counselors. We are encouraged to see that several students are interested in serving, and we plan to include them on committees, as well.”

Ironically, all this happened during National Banned Books Week, which has been celebrated across the country including at the University of Texas in Tyler where college students are reading one of the contraband books, World War Z, according to KTRE-9, the ABC affiliate.

Jan Harp, Frankston ISD’s library assistant told KTRE-9 that in East Texas, Frankston banned World War Z in 2012 “after complaints that the book was too vulgar for its students.” District superintendent Micah Lewis stood behind the parent-faculty committee’s decision to remove the book from school shelves.

However, what happened in Highland Park ISD was also the result of 100–plus parents protesting at a September 9th standing-room-only school board meeting. From the approved list of books, parents “read excerpts of sex scenes, references to homosexuality, a description of a girl’s abduction and a passage that criticized capitalism,” according to the Dallas Morning News article. Hundreds of emails were also sent to district officials.

Still, how did these books get on the approved list in the first place?

“For about two decades, HPHS English Department faculty members have worked with parents to compile a list of books ranging from the ancient work of the Greek poet Homer to the work of contemporary authors, such as Malcolm Gladwell. Since 2005, the process has become more formal, with the establishment of parent-teacher literature review committees. When new books are proposed for use in the classroom, the committees read the literature and produce a written rationale that details the instructional merits of the work. The rationale report also lists any potentially controversial content,” Orr and Kelly commented in the Constant Contact.

Clearly, something went wrong. Williams didn’t elaborate further as to what exactly went wrong in this committee process beyond what was posted online and obviously, even problems arose with The Art of Racing in the Rain and The Glass Castle.

Interestingly, in Florida, The Glass Castle replaced Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, a novel that gives great insight into post WWI America, the 1920’s and the moral decadence and disillusionment of its time. Walls’ book accommodated the requirements of the Common Core.

Williams insisted that insisted that Highland Park ISD’s list is not derived from Common Core. She said that “Teachers have freedom to recommend literature books they think will inspire their students.” Although, sometimes they make mistakes.

She referenced an instance with the book Perks of Being a Wallflower, a coming-of-age story of a high school boy. It hadn’t been vetted. “It had been in the classroom and the district apologized, removing it over the procedural lapse,” she said.

Williams hopes that Highland Park ISD’s communication sent to parents will be helpful in explaining that “some titles that contain material that some parents might find unsuitable for children and that with a parent permission form, students can read non-controversial alternative texts.”

She used the example of the novel 19 Minutes, a highly sensitive book about a school shooting. This was an approved district book but it “raised so much rancor, teachers said they weren’t going to teach it,” Williams said.

“There are other ways to accomplish the same educational objectives” through other approved novels,” she added.

How the district now plans to move forward and resolve these issues was also addressed by Orr and Kelly. They wrote, “Only two of the books that were suspended (excluding The Glass Castle, which is no longer being challenged) were scheduled for use this school year. The four remaining books are not being taught. So, although the challenges to those four have no immediate effect on instruction, we will appoint reconsideration committees to review the books this school year.”

In the case of The Art of Racing in the Rain, 63 students in three classes had read more than half of the book. They completed an assignment, which required them to narrate from a unique viewpoint, such as an animal or inanimate object, since the book is narrated by a dog. Students have since moved onto the next study units that include Gladwell’s What the Dog Saw and Plato’s The Allegory of the Cave. Orr and Kelly made kind mention of the “flexibility” of the affected students and faculty members.

One of the books now under reconsideration via committee is The Working Poor: Invisible in America. It was originally scheduled for use in Spring 2015. Williams pointed out, they hope to come to a resolution on the The Art of Racing in the Rain before then, by the end of the Fall semester. They will also come to a decision on the other suspended books.

Among the options for these six books after being properly vetted are that they can be deemed unrestricted for classroom use, meaning it would be suitable for grades 9-12, Williams stated. A book may instead be classified as restricted, and then it would only be used in a particular grade level or class. The third option would remove the book from the approved list entirely.

In the Dallas Morning News article, former English teacher Carol Wickstrom pointed out that “school districts and teachers walk a tightrope. They must respect the choice of parents who request other reading materials and protect other students’ rights to read them.

The age old issue of what constitutes appropriate literature has become an even tougher balancing act than ever before. Today’s far more explicit language and graphic descriptions are a far cry from the sexual innuendo of a Shakespearean play or the double entendre found in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales.

Although Williams told Breitbart Texas, “I’ve been in Highland Park ISD for 11 years and never saw a book challenged before,” books are challenged nationwide all the time.

Over the years, dystopian cautionary tales like The Giver, 1984, Handmaid’s Tale and Brave New World have all landed on the the American Library Association (ALA) challenged or banned book lists. Meanwhile, classics like To Kill A Mockingbird and Siddhartha are now taught under new Fed Led Ed guidelines in Common Core states. Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon, on the Highland Park ISD list, was a university English Lit staple for years. Today, this same novel with its themes of racism, slavery, murder and incest is read on a secondary public education level.

On the other hand, the Anne Frank Diary of a Young Girl that followed the Jewish Frank family hiding from the Nazis during WWII has even been contested for body image content. Catcher in the Rye, Lord of the Flies, Of Mice and Men, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, The Kite Runner, The Bridge to Terabithia, Huck Finn, Roll of Thunder, Hear Me Cry and The Chocolate War are only a smattering of new and old literature that have wound up on the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom list as potentially corrupting the moral fiber of the nation.

While Where’s Waldo, Harriet the Spy, Charlotte’s Web, James and the Giant Peach, Green Eggs and Ham, Winnie the Pooh and Captain Underpants are a few of the more innocuous kid books listed as either challenged or banned by the ALA, one nonfiction entry was the controversial revisionist People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn.

Curiously, the divisive Occupied America, written by far left ideologue and retired California State University, Northridge professor Rodolfo Acuna, was banned by the Tucson Unified School District prior to shutting down the Mexican American Studies Program that preached the overthrow of the United States government, yet the book was not banned by the ALA. It was awarded the 2009 ALA Outstanding Title.

Fahrenheit 451, another futuristic novel about book burning, reminiscent of totalitarian regime-like censorship, has also been on the ALA challenged book list. Perhaps the toughest challenge in determining a problematic literary work was best said by Frankston ISD’s Harp. She told KTRE-9, that the process of removing a book from a reading list looks at content and appropriateness, not someone’s personal attitude toward an ideology.

That may ultimately prove to be the greatest of all challenges in a world where education progressives so dominate that ideology in the public school classroom.

Follow Merrill Hope on Twitter @OutOfTheBoxMom.




Source: Breitbart Feed

Noon: People’s Climate March Wants to Change the System, Not the Weather

“Extremist voices and groups have hijacked Islam and misappropriated the right to speak on its behalf,” Iyad Ameen Madani, secretary general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, told the 25th Session of the Arab Summit earlier this year.

Surely sincere lovers of nature can similarly see that extremists have hijacked the environmental movement, as evidenced by the People’s Climate March last week in New York City and the subsequent UN Climate Summit.

The People’s Climate March had little to do with the climate. The eco-extremists want to “change the system.”

While reported numbers vary, hundreds of thousands of people clogged (and littered) the streets of New York City, with solidarity events held elsewhere around the globe. The parade had grand marshals such as actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo, and politicos such as Al Gore and Robert Kennedy, Jr.

It also had an assortment of anti-Americans and anti-capitalists. Human Events described the menagerie this way: “If you’re in favor of totalitarian power, sympathetic to America’s enemies, dubious about representative democracy, hostile to free markets, or you just get turned on by fantasizing about violent revolution, there was a place for you at this march.”

Marchers carried a banner stating: “Capitalism is the disease, socialism is the cure.” Other signs read: “Capitalism is killing the planet. Fight for a socialist future.”

Hydraulic fracturing—uniquely responsible for U.S. carbon dioxide emissions dropping to the lowest in 20 yearscame under special attack: “Make fracking a crime.” Marchers held signs saying: “Fracking = Climate Change. Ban fracking now.”

Speaking of crimes, Robert Kennedy, Jr., in an interview at the Climate March, told Climate Depot‘s Marc Morano that he wishes there were a law to punish global warming skeptics. Interviews with marchers revealed sentiments ranging from “corporations have to be reined in” to the notion that the marchers are “building a revolution for a whole new society—a new socialist society.”

A man in a cow costume carried a sign reading: “I fart. Therefore, I am the problem.” Bob Linden, host of the nationally-syndicated program “Go Vegan,” stated: “[I]f 50 to 85 percent of us switch to veganism by 2020, scientists tell us we can save the planet from climate change.”

Unfortunately, you won’t see any of this in the mainstream media. The New York Times slide show of the event features a pictorial display of flower wreaths, children, and happy dancers.

In a piece titled: “Rockets Red Glare Distract Nation from UN Climate Summit and Import of Global Climate Protests,” the Huffington Post laments that “the critically important UN Climate Summit in New York has had to compete on mainstream media with the far more dramatic war coverage.” It continues that “the climate’s fate is far more important to the world even than the desperately needed military campaign by the U.S. and its allies to eradicate barbaric ISIL terrorists from Syria and Iraq.”

The new war in Iraq and Syria, waged by Islamic extremists, centers on hate for all things Western and a desire to change systems of government to an Islamic caliphate. The People’s Climate March also centers on hate and a desire to change the government.

One description of the March said: “These people are defined by what they hate, and a big part of what they hate is capitalism.”

During a panel discussion held in conjunction with the March, a questioner wondered aloud to Naomi Klein, author of This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate: “Even if the climate change issue did not exist, you would be calling for the same structural changes.” Her answer: “Yeah.”

Every Muslim isn’t a terrorist and every person who cares about the planet isn’t an eco-extremist. But just as ISIS changed America’s view, the Climate March made clear that extremist voices have hijacked the environmental movement.

National Geographic summed up the March this way: “Despite all the enthusiasm displayed in New York and elsewhere on a muggy September Sunday, public opinion polls consistently show that climate change does not rank as a high priority for most Americans.”

Americans are smarter than the collection of anti-capitalist satellite groups think. They’ve seen through the rhetoric and realize, as the Climate March made clear, that it is not about climate change, it is about system change.

The author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE).




Source: Breitbart Feed

Jorge Ramos Nadó En Aguas Negras, Dice Agente de Patrulla Fronteriza

LAREDO, Texas — El conductor de noticias Jorge Ramos involuntariamente nadó en aguas negras durante un truco publicitario en el cuál cruzó el Río Bravo, según un agente de la Patrulla Fronteriza que trabaja en la zona. El truco estaba diseñado para mostrar solidaridad con los inmigrantes ilegales que cruzan el río que separa a Texas y México. READ THE ENGLISH VERSION HERE.

“Ramos nadó aguas abajo de el lugar donde Nuevo Laredo suelta sus aguas negras al Río Bravo,” dijo el Agente de la Patrulla Fronteriza Jarrad Seely. 

El Agente Seely habló exclusivamente con Breitbart Texas bajo su cargo de vicepresidente y vocero del Consejo Nacionál de la Patrulla Fronteriza (NBPC) Locál 2455.

“El vino aquí y literalmente nadó con popó. El vino y nos dijo cuál era la realidad en lugar de él escucharnos sobre lo que sabemos y vivimos. Le hubiéramos avisado si se hubiera tomado el tiempo de preguntarnos,” dijo el Agente Seely. “Tuvimos que ver mientras Aduanas Y Protección Fronteriza (CBP) nuestra agencia matriz, puso un espectáculo y reforzó la seguridad para la visita de Ramos.Tenían una demostración de fuerza en la frontera que normalmente no está ahí lo cuál es ser deshonesto al público Americano. Los hace pensar que el gobierno federal está hacienda más para asegurar la frontera que lo que en realidad estan haciendo.

Breitbart Texas pudo confirmar de manera independiente que una planta existe a una corta distancia aguas arriba de donde Ramos nadó. La planta bombea aguas negras al Río Bravo incluyendo desechos humanos. 

Sigue al Director General de Breitbart Texas en Twitter: @brandondarby 




Source: Breitbart Feed

7 Other Lone Wolf Islamic Attacks Inside the U.S.

Over the weekend, the FBI announced that it would treat Islamist Alton Nolan’s alleged beheading of Colleen Hufford, 54, as a case of workplace violence. That despite the fact that Nolan’s Facebook page contains a picture of Nolan giving the ISIS salute, multiple pictures of Osama Bin Laden, a screenshot of the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center, and a quote reading, “I will instill terror into the hearts of the unbelievers: smile ye above their necks and smite all their fingertips off them.”

This, of course, is not the first time the federal government has labeled Islamic terrorism “workplace violence.” The Fort Hood shootings by avowed Islamist Nidal Hassan were classified thus by the federal government, as well. In fact, the Obama administration has repeatedly treated “lone wolf” Islamic terror inside the United States as though it were non-terrorist crime – unlike the Bush administration, which, for example, correctly labeled as terrorism Hesham Mohamed Hadayet’s attack on the El Al counter at Los Angeles International Airport in 2002 and the Beltway snipers’ multiple murders in that same year.

The Obama administration takes great pains never to label Islamic terror as such inside the United States; instead, we are told, we should focus disproportionately on the threat of right-wing groups like the Tea Party.

Meanwhile, Islamists inside the United States kill and maim and torture.

Here are seven other recent cases of lone wolf Islamic attacks inside the United States in recent years:

Yusuf Ibrahim. In April, 28-year-old Yusuf Ibrahim was indicted for two 2013 beheadings. He allegedly shot 25-year-old Hanny Tawadros and 27-year-old Amgad Konds, then cut off their heads and hands. The two were Egyptian Coptic Christian expatriates.

Faleh Hassan Almaleki. Almaleki killed his daughter, Noor Almaleki, 20, in a parking lot in Phoenix in 2009 after she became “too Westernized” and refused an arranged marriage. He also used his car to assault the mother of Noor’s boyfriend. Ahmed Rehab of the Council on American-Islamic Relations condemned the “domestic violence incident.”

Yaser Said. In 2008, Said allegedly murdered his two daughters after they began dating non-Muslims. He allegedly shot daughters Amina, 18, and Sarah, 17, on January 1, 2008 multiple times after luring them back home to visit their grandmother’s grave. Said is still at large.

Muzzammil Hassan. In 2009, Hassan cut his wife’s head off because she filed for divorce against him. He stabbed his wife, Aasiya, some 40 times and then proceeded to decapitate her. Ironically, Hassan founded Bridge TV in 2004, a station dedicated to fighting “the negative stereotype of Muslims post-9/11.”

Mohammed Taheri-azar: In 2006, Taheri-azar drove his car into a crowd at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in an attempt to kill Americans in supposed revenge for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. A letter he left for police read: “I live with the holy Koran as my constitution for right and wrong and definition of injustice… I’ve read all 114 chapters about 20 times since June of 2003 when I started reading the Koran. The U.S. government is responsible for the deaths and torture of countless followers of Allah, my brothers and sisters. My attack on Americans at UNC-CH March 3, was in retaliation for similar attacks orchestrated by the U.S. government on my fellow followers of Allah in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, Saudi Arabia and other Islamic territories.”

Naveed Afzal Haq. Haq attacked the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle in 2006 with a gun, killing a woman and wounding five. According to the Seattle police, Haq said “he wanted the United States to leave Iraq, that his people were being mistreated and that the United States was harming his people. And he pointedly blamed the Jewish people for all of these problems. He stated he didn’t care if he lived.” Those who worked with Haq said he self-identified as a “Muslim-American… angry at Israel.”

Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad. Muhammad shot and killed an Army soldier at a Little Rock recruiting station in 2010. The feds didn’t charge him with terrorism; instead, state authorities charged him with murder. As the Los Angeles Times reports, after converting to Islam in Tennessee at age 20, he moved to Yemen, was arrested there, and then came back to the United States to attack the recruiting station. According to police, Mohammed stated he was “mad at the U.S. military because of what they had done to Muslims in the past,” and he wanted to “kill as many people in the Army as he could.” According to the perpetrator’s father, the feds didn’t charge Muhammad with terrorism because doing so would have shone a spotlight on their own incompetence: “They should have done their job and this never would have happened. I think that somebody in the federal government and the FBI should be charged with negligence. Negligent homicide.”

Undoubtedly, there are other cases. And the power of worldwide communication means that terror groups across the Middle East are actively recruiting inside the United States. What we saw in Oklahoma may be just the beginning – or rather, the continuation – of a trend, especially if the feds refuse to treat Islamic terrorism for what it is.

Ben Shapiro is Senior Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the new book, The People vs. Barack Obama: The Criminal Case Against The Obama Administration (Threshold Editions, June 10, 2014). He is also Editor-in-Chief of TruthRevolt.orgFollow Ben Shapiro on Twitter @benshapiro.




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Germany Starts Training 32 Kurdish Fighters

BERLIN (AP) — Germany’s army has started training 32 Kurdish peshmerga fighters at an army school in Bavaria to support them in their fight against Islamic State extremists.

A spokesman for the German defense ministry said Sunday that the 32 Kurdish fighters would stay in Germany until October 3 to receive weapons’ training.

Germany also began delivering arms to the Kurds in northern Iraq on Thursday, dispatching a shipment of 50 hand-held anti-tank weapons, 520 G3 rifles and 20 machine guns.

In total, the German plan calls for arming 10,000 Kurdish fighters with some 70 million euros ($90 million) worth of equipment.

Germany is also sending some 40 paratroopers to help train the fighters on the weapons.




Source: Breitbart Feed