From The Teacher…

Writers on the Inside

My very first year as a teacher was in 1996 in rural Alabama. I walked into the supply room one day and (angels singing) there was a class set of Fahrenheit 451, those little paperback-sized hardcover editions. There was a copy of the movie and a teacher’s guide. I pulled one out and opened it and the spine still cracked because the books had never been opened. I raced to the department head (who just happened to be married to my principal) and told her I wanted to use those books.

“No.”

“No? I can’t use them?” I asked.

“No.”

“Because another teacher teaches that book?” I asked, confused.

“No.”

“Well…” I said, still confused.

(angry sigh) “It’s been banned.”

“Huh?”

“That book. It’s been banned. We don’t teach THAT book here.”

“Um…” Confused again.

“What?!”

“I’m confused. You banned a book about book banning?”

“Yes. And we DON’T…

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