Yay! Idaho School District Decides NOT to Ban Steinbeck's 'Of Mice and Men'

Remember when that Idaho school district was going to vote on banning Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck because of its “profanity” and sad ending”? Well, it looks like sanity occasionally prevails as Of Mice and Men will NOT be banned! The Coeur D’Alene school board voted 4 to 1 on June 1 to keep the book on the curriculum.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Mary Jo Finney, one of the members of the review committee that suggested restricting the book, addressed the school board before the voting took place. Seeming to think the vote wouldn't go in her favor Finney said, "It has been 10 long years that I have worked to get this district to be more accountable to parents with safeguards and standards, and now I would suggest that parents pull their children from [School District] 271, or better yet, never put them in."

But despite Finney's words, the school board still voted to keep the book in classrooms as required reading. Idaho school board trustee Dave Eubanks, who originally felt that the review committee’s suggestion to restrict the book to optional, small group discussions was a good compromise, apparently came around to Of Mice and Men. “I think our community has already clearly made its decision: no problem, leave it where it is, require whole-group instruction,” he said. Only one school board trustee voted against allowing the book to stay on the curriculum.

According to The Spokesman-Review, many of the district’s teachers include the book in their curriculum, because, as Lake City High School teacher Brianna Cline says, students tend to relate strongly to the book, “especially young men who are often the most difficult to engage with literature." And thank goodness this important book is staying put for that reason and more.

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