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Have Faith in Schools

March 17, 1993

The Simi Valley Unified School District school board has performed a courageous act. Despite the threats of a lawsuit from the local chapter of the NAACP and the ACLU regarding a student's violated civil rights, the majority of the school board voted to keep "The Cay" on the optional district reading list for seventh-graders.

There are plenty of differing viewpoints to this complex issue, all seemingly valid. The teen-ager part of me can empathize with that young student who felt badly as passages of the book were read aloud in class, unfairly depicting a black character. The student's parents have argued that, because the student was the only African-American in the class, his civil rights were somehow violated.

As a high school honor English student, however, I feel compelled to believe that the lessons that certain works of literature teach, when conscientiously taught, are more important than the hurt feelings of a few students who may not see the value of such books. I don't mean to imply that the end justifies the means, but to point out that if these books are not merely read, but discussed and taught by a responsible teacher, a student would never walk out of such a class feeling wronged.

To the objectors of "The Cay," I would challenge you to read the book in its entirety, not just the questionable passages. Have faith and confidence in our schools and teachers, that they will teach the right things. Have faith in us, the students, that we wish to learn humaneness as well as the three Rs.

And despite racist accusations, have faith in the community of Simi Valley, that love and brotherhood are being taught in the home, as it is in my home.


Royal High School

Simi Valley

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