Petition launched to thwart prospect of Rigby High book ban

RIGBY — An anonymous internet user has launched an online petition aimed at thwarting efforts to ban George Orwell’s 1949 classic dystopian novel “1984” from being taught in two senior government classes at Rigby High School.

The petition, launched last week on ipetitions.com, began circulating on Facebook Friday afternoon. Over the weekend, it garnered over 500 signatures and 200 comments from people across Idaho, and overseas.

Jefferson County superintendent Lisa Sherick

“This makes me terribly ashamed of RHS,” wrote Kaylee Spencer of Gloucester, U.K.

“Everyone has the right to read,” wrote Peggy Hess of Rupert, Idaho.

Backlash over the prospect of banning the book erupted last week after a parent expressed concerns over a sexually charged passage in the novel. These concerns purportedly prompted Rigby High School principal Brian Lords to tell two government teachers to stop using the book.

Both Lords and Jefferson County School District superintendent Lisa Sherick denied claims that anyone had already banned the novel, though several students said the two teachers had expressed regret that the book could no longer be used.

One of those teachers declined to comment last week.

Sherick, Lords and Jefferson County director of secondary education Chad Martin vowed to iron out the issue via a meeting with the two teachers sometime this week. Current “solutions” range from keeping the book and allowing concerned students to read another, to restricting it completely, Sherick said.

The Jefferson County School District is located in East Idaho, 15 miles north of Idaho Falls.

Stay with Idaho Education News for further developments on this story. 

Devin Bodkin

About Devin Bodkin

EdNews assistant editor and reporter Devin Bodkin is a former high school English teacher who specializes in stories about charter schools and educating students who live in poverty. He lives and works in East Idaho. Follow Devin on Twitter @dsbodkin. He can be reached by email at [email protected].

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