CPS Battle Brews Over Graphic Novel

Officials decide <i>Persepolis</i> is not appropriate for seventh graders

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Book about woman's experience during Islamic Revolution pulled from seventh-grade curriculum. Natalie Martinez reports.

    Some Chicago Public Schools students are up in arms over a perceived book ban, but officials are calling it a misunderstanding.

    The book in question is Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi, a graphic memoir of a girl growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution that features descriptions and images of torture.

    Some CPS schools starting receiving directives this week to remove the book from the library, prompting some students and teachers to plan a free speech demonstration at Lane Tech High School Friday.

    "We believe that removing books from kids is chilling and an act of censorship," said Barbara Jones, director of the Office for Intellectual Freedom. "It reflects a totalitarian society that this book is all about ... the Iranian revolution."

    But CPS Superintendent Barbara Byrd-Bennett issued a letter Friday denying that the book was not being banned, but was being removed from the curriculum for seventh graders where it was deemed not appropriate.

    Bennett says the book is only appropriate for junior and senior students and those in Advance Placement classes, and a determination is being made whether it can be added to the curriculum for eighth through tenth grades.

    However, Jones says CPS officials have not explained why the book initially being removed from high schools when it's an issue for seventh graders.