LANCASTER - A Lancaster County school district will remove novels by Maya Angelou and Barbara Kingsolver from the fall ninth-grade English curriculum following complaints by parents about the sexual content of the books.
Several parents complained last fall about passages in Angelou's I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Manheim Township School District Superintendent Kevin Singer said. Complaints have also been made about Kingsolver's Animal Dreams, according to teacher Larry Penner, the district language arts consultant.
The English department has suggested moving Kingsolver's book to the 11th-grade curriculum and making it an optional text. Penner said faculty members "had very serious conversations" about the appropriateness and quality of the novel, which he said was "widely acclaimed and widely taught."
A review panel recommended keeping Angelou's book in the curriculum, but delaying teaching it until the second semester of the 2007-08 school year. That would allow time for a public hearing on both books as well as others in the curriculum, officials said.
"The idea is to let people know what we teach and why we teach it," Penner said.
School board members appeared unhappy about the controversy.
"I'm very troubled that out of the millions of books out there, we couldn't find one that doesn't create an uproar," board member James Adams said.