In the Time of Butterflies

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Date: 2000

Region: North America

Subject: Violence, Political/Economic/Social Opinion

Medium: Literature, Education


Artist: Julie Alvarez, author

Confronting Bodies: The Port Washington Board of Education

Dates of Action: Fall, 2000

Location: Paul D. Schreiber High School, Board of Education meeting, Port Washington, NY

Description of Artwork: The highly acclaimed novel is a story of three sisters active in the underground resistance movement opposing the oppressive dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo.

The Incident: The Board of Education voted that the book should not be a part of the 10th grade curriculum due to a crude illustration of a hand-made bomb.

Results of Incident: Numerous teachers, parents, and students were disappointed and angered by the board's decision. Students felt that their intelligence and maturity was being undermined, and others believed that it was the place of educators to make such decisions. Critics of the board's vote expressed concern over the implications of removing the book and feared the precedent it set for judging books in the future. The board maintained its belief that this was a matter of security and it was not the same thing as banning the book. The disapproval of the book came just months after the Columbine High School shootings in Littleton, Colorado.

Source: NCAC, Port Washington News, October 13, 2000.