Harry Potter might get kicked out of the library

Hearing to determine fate of ‘Harry Potter’ books in GCPS

- By Rubina Madan
Loganville mother of four Laura Mallory would like for the county to take the Harry Potter book series off schools’ library shel 
 Loganville mother of four Laura Mallory would like for the county to take the Harry Potter book series off schools’ library shelves

rubina.madan@gwinnettdailypost.com
 

LAWRENCEVILLE — The next challenge Harry Potter will face has nothing to do with horcruxes, Hogwart’s or the half-blood prince. Instead, it will be a group of concerned parents looking to take the series off the shelves of all Gwinnett County Public Schools.

Laura Mallory of Loganville filed an appeal last week to get the best-selling book series out of the schools’ media centers. She is an evangelical Christian who has three children at J.C. Magill Elementary School.

“I think the anti-Christian bias — it’s just got to stop,” Mallory said. “And if we don’t say something, we’ll just keep getting pushed out of the schools. And I pay taxes, too, and I think that gives me a voice to speak out about this.”

On Thursday, she will present her appeal at a public hearing at 2 p.m. Many parents and other community members are expected to attend to support or oppose Harry Potter’s place in Gwinnett schools. A hearing officer will listen to all of the testimony and submit recommendations to the Gwinnett Board of Education. The board will have to make its final decision within 15 days of the hearing.

Mallory wrote on her appeal forms that she was objecting to the books because of their “evil themes, witchcraft, demonic activity, murder, evil blood sacrifice, spells and teaching children all of this.”

The mother of four said she was opposed to the messages of the books, which describe a young wizard’s adventures in a school of magic. She said she had done much of her research online, reading a variety of Christian message boards and Harry Potter fan sites.

Their thinking has changed. They’re designed to think that witches and witchcraft and wizards and all this is just normal. And that it’s OK. And that it’s even good. I strongly disagree with that. I don’t think it’s OK, and I don’t think it’s good at all,” Mallory said.

The appeal has brought international attention to Gwinnett County schools, as news of the possible banning of the book series circulated around the Internet this past week.

Book appeals have been fairly rare in the Gwinnett school system. The most recent challenges were in 1997, when complainants asked the Board of Education to remove “Ghost Camp” by R.L. Stein and “It’s Not the End of the World” by Judy Blume, according to Sloan Roach, spokeswoman for Gwinnett County Public Schools.

In both cases, committees recommended the board take no action, allowing the books to stay on the shelves. The school board upheld those decisions.
“Since we will be ultimately making a decision, it probably is premature to say anything for or against the books until the information is brought before us,” said Carole Boyce, the Board of Education’s District I representative.

Many Gwinnett Harry Potter fans, including students and parents, were shocked when they heard about the possibility of the books being taken off school shelves.

Jessica Grimes, a 10-year-old student at Duncan Creek Elementary School, faxed a letter to the school system in support of the books series.
“The books never at any time turned me into a wizard or witch,” Grimes said. “I go to church every Sunday, go to Sunday school and never at any time did I think the books are true.”

Michelle Carter, the PTA president at Magill, also has three children at the school. She said she was undecided as to whether or not the series should be available in schools, but was confident about the final decision.

“I’m glad that parents in Gwinnett County schools are able to express their opinions and be heard, and I believe the Board of Education will hear all sides and make the correct decision,” Carter said.
Dacula High School student Jana Davis, 16, said she will probably attend the public hearing with some fellow Harry Potter fans. She said she didn’t see how the books were any worse than other children’s books like Roald Dahl’s “James and the Giant Peach” or Lemony Snicket’s “A Series of Unfortunate Events” series.

“Maybe parents should be parents and read the book first,” Davis said. “If they find it fun, exciting and adventurous, like thousands of people across the world, then they should allow their children to read it, in school or out.”

Mallory said she has been contacted by other Christian parents who were concerned about the content of the books. On her complaint form, she suggested they be replaced by C.S. Lewis’s “Chronicles of Narnia” series or Tim LaHaye’s “Left Behind: the Kids” series.

She admitted that she has not read the book series partially because “they’re really very long and I have four kids.”

“I’ve put a lot of work into what I’ve studied and read. I think it would be hypocritical for me to read all the books, honestly. I don’t agree with what’s in them. I don’t have to read an entire pornographic magazine to know it’s obscene,” Mallory said.

What can we get from this article?

1) You don’t have to read a book to determine if it should be banned/recommended.

2) 10 year olds can discern reality from fantasy, unlike some of their adult counterparts

3) There is no possible way that on-line research is flawed. Anything pulled from the Internet is automatically factual. Christian messageboards are also not likely to offer any agenda to something like this topic either.

4) Although Harry Potter books make no reference to Gerald Gardner, the Great Rite, Sabbats, various rituals, reference on how to collect and prepare tools, Demeter/Persephone or Kore or any other Gods or Goddesses; it is a handbook for all things Wicca.

Blog author’s note: Please, people. If you are going to have an opinion on this, please read at least one of the series. Credibility is given by doing your own REAL research, not taking others opinion as fact.

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8 responses to “Harry Potter might get kicked out of the library

  1. She has time to do all that internet research but not enough time to read the books? Whatever.

  2. I am a mother of 5 children, am Christian, and have read all the books, and have seem the movies. I encourage my kids to read them! I am glad they can really get into something and it gives me one more thing in common with them and can talk to them about. If that lady feels that stongly about not letting her kids read the books, dont buy them and dont let them borrow them from the library. If you feel so strongly about the books not being in the school- put them in a private Christian school! We ALL pay taxes, and I say the books should stay. To her, and people like her, I say: Get over it, its just a book.

  3. babs: she must be afraid of getting influenced by the books herself. lol

  4. I’m a Christian, too, and have read all the Harry Potter books. I find nothing in them to threaten my faith. In fact, the books actually strengthen Christian values and are full of Christian symbolism. If Mallory had actually read the books, she’d know that.

  5. “I think it would be hypocritical for me to read all the books, honestly.”

    I WONDER WHY!

  6. I’m a Christian, and have loved Harry Potter for 10, nearly 11 years. I started to read with that series, and quite honestly, I think this woman needs to get her head out the ground and talk to people who HAVE read it, then see what she thinks. An even better choice would be to read it herself but unfortunately that’s too “hypocritical” of her. I had this same dilemma when Twilight became popular, but I didn’t like Twilight because everyone else loved it. I read the books, and realised that it actually was rubbish. I made my own opinion.

    About her suggesting they replace the series with “Narnia”… I’m pretty sure they’ll already have that series in the library. What doe she want them to do? Replace the books with MORE Narnia books, that kids probably don’t even read? Silly Muggle.

    Another point I would like to raise is this: as a parent (which admittedly I’m not) you should put the needs of the child first. If her child finds reading easier with Harry Potter, is she going to tell them to put it down and read “Canterbury Tales”? I should hope not, but unfortunately she will. As an avid reader, the only book my parents ever banned me from reading was “The Da Vinci Code”, but that was because they didn’t want me to get the wrong impression about Jesus. Two years after the ban, I got it out the library and read it when my parents weren’t home. I honestly saw no harm in it, and I could see what they were worried about. I didn’t tell them I’d read it though, and it never became an issue.

    To finish, I’d like to suggest we look out for another complaint by this woman in the near future, since the “Hunger Games” series by Suzanne Collins is being made into a film series. It features murder, so I wouldn’t be surprised if she tried to have it banned in schools as well.

  7. I read the whole series and it didn’t turn me into a witch. I read them purely for entertainment. If you don’t want to read them, then don’t. But don’t ban them, that’s just stupid.

  8. Yeah, because The Chronicles of Narnia are totally better in content than Harry Potter. I like both, and both have fantasy themes. So according to her, anything not realistic should be kicked out of schools? That’s not right, how will kids develop an imagination if they don’t have anything to base it off of?
    And the evil blood rituals, evil themes, murder, etc. is painted in a negative light so children know that it’s not right.
    I disagree with her statements, she needs to read the books to know the content. The books aren’t promoting witchcraft per say, they’re just following seven years of life of a boy who happens to be a wizard caught in a deadly conflict. It doesn’t have anti-Christian sentiments. I’m a Christian, and I have found almost no problems with the books.

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