The book by Ralph Ellison, banned last week on a 5-2 vote by the Randolph County School Board, was reinstated in school libraries last night on a 6-1 vote to reconsider what some school board members admitted was a rash decision.
The original vote to ban the book came after the complaint of a single parent. The vote to reinstate came after a deluge of email and negative state-wide and national attention.
One school board member who reversed his vote last night had a good deal to confess about his personal feelings and a newfound appreciation for the Constitution, according to the Asheboro Courier-Tribune:
Board member Matthew Lambeth led off the discussion, apologizing for not personally seeking counsel from the board’s legal adviser, teachers and the superintendent before voting last week. He said he read the book twice, once in college and again three weeks ago after receiving a copy.
He explained that as a college freshman it gave him a perspective he had never seen, having been raised in a “very white background.” However, he said he took issue about the “explicit accounts” related to incest and rape with which he was familiar because of incidents affecting individuals he knew.
Lambeth said since the last meeting he had listened to other viewpoints and still was concerned about the book’s content and protection of students, but realized that the decision was about a child’s First Amendment rights and educational values, not his personal perspective.I'm liking that Randolph County School Board member this morning! And the rest of those members who actually listened and learned and reversed a wrong-headed decision.