Stuck in the Middle Survives Censorship Scare, But Not Unscathed
The Comic Book Legal Defense fund offered support for the books' continued inclusion, and I would have as well had I known of the story! How this one escaped my notice I have no idea. The book will remain on the shelves of schools like Buckfield Junior-Senior High, but a 2009 challenge in South Dakota had less fortunate results for the text and its potential readers. The Souix Falls, SD, school board voted to remove the book from shelves for "foul language, sexual references and depictions of teen smoking."
Still, a student will need special permission to read the book in Maine's Region 10. It's not a complete victory, but it's not a total defeat either. Kudos to CBLDF for its support of the text, and a "good enough" to the special committee formed to decide the fate of the book.
You can read more about the local coverage of the story here.
I can't help but remember the work that I and many other teacher educators and k-12 teachers did last year in creating the CD-ROM and E-book versions of Rationales for Teaching Graphic Novels, which offers statements of summary, use, reputation, and value for 108 different graphic novels. Stuck in the Middle wasn't one of them, but I wonder if troubles could have been avoided if a rationale for the text had been available. Of course, the challenge for this book regarded its place in a library rather than a classroom.
This case reminds us that comics need our help and our vigilance regarding their inclusion in schools and libraries and that we need to fight for students' rights to read them,