Slaughter House 5 (Repulic MO.)
Region: North America
Subject: Banned Books, Schools
Artist: Kurt Vonnegut, Sarah Ockler
Confronting Bodies: Republic School District (Republic MO.)
Dates of Action: 7/28/2011-9/22/2011
Location: Republic MO., United States of America
Description of Artwork: Slaughterhouse 5 is a novel written by Kurt Vonnegut first published in 1969. It is a satirical novel about WWII happenings as well as journeys through time and space. It is viewed as a post modern metaphysical novel. Slaughterhouse 5 has been well reviewed since its original publishing date and is considered one of the most important books in US Literature History. It has been frequently banned from schools (in schoold districts in Rhode Island and Illinois in the 2000's). It is typically censored due to it use of profanity and descriptions of sex. Twenty-Boy Summer is a book depicting a teenage girl attempting to find summer romance while dealing with the death of her best friend's brother who was her first love. It contains teenage drinking and sexual promiscuity.
The Incident: Missouri State University Professor Wesley Scroggins complained to the school board of the local High School in Republic, Missouri - requesting that three books including Slaughter-House Five by Kurt Vonnegut and Twenty-Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler be removed from the schools curriculum. "This is a book that contains so much profane language, it would make a sailor blush with shame. The "f word" is plastered on almost every other page. The content ranges from naked men and women in cages together so that others can watch them having sex to God telling people that they better not mess with his loser, bum of a son, named Jesus Christ." said Scroggins explaing why Slaughterhouse Five needed to be removed. Scroggins children are home-schooled. This was brought before the school board of Republic MO. who voted on the removal of these two books. On July 28, 2011 the school board voted unanimously 4-0 to eliminate both Slaughterhouse Five and Twenty-Boy Summer from the school curriculum. Of the members of the school board who voted on the issue, only one -- Melissa Duvall -- had actually read either of the books in question.
Results of Incident: Protest from both the Vonnegut library and author Sarah Ockler. "Not every teen who has sex outside of a relationship feels guilty, shameful, or regretful later on...And you can ban my books from every damn district in the country -- I'm still not going to write to send messages or make teens feel guilty because they've made choices that some people want to pretend don't exist." was the response from Ockler. On Spetember 22nd 2011 the school board of Republic, Mo., voted to end the ban of Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut and Tewnty-Boy Summer from the school library. This descion was made with the provision that if students wished to check out the books their parents had to come to the library and physically check it out for them. The Vonnegut library offered a free copy of Slaughterhouse Five to all students of the Republic Mo. School District.
Sources: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/29/slaughterhouse-five-banned-missouri_n_913078.html, http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/childrens/childrens-industry-news/article/48797-vonnegut-library-says-slaughterhouse-five-repeal-not-enough.html, http://www.news-leader.com/article/20100918/OPINIONS02/112020001/Filthy-books-demeaning-Republic-education, & http://sarahockler.com/2011/09/20/banned-books-compromise-im-not-touching-him/