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The Walking Dead: Idaho High School Bans Image Comics Series

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Robert Kirkman’s Image Comics series The Walking Dead has been banned at the Wallace Junior/Senior High School in Wallace, Idaho. The decision goes against the recommendation of a committee of students, educators and parents convened to help decide if the school should retain the comic series in its library. The committee voted 7 - 4 to keep the horror series, but the recommendation was ignored by the school’s superintendent, who implemented the ban.

Concerns about the The Walking Dead were first raised by a former staff member who saw a student reading the comic and found the content therein objectionable. WHS Principal Chris Lund was informed about the comic series, which contains graphic violence, profanity and sexually explicit content. Principal Lund consulted the school's policies and assembled the 11-person committee. The committee read and discussed a selection of the comics, then filed their recommendation to keep them.

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The vote was not without controversy, though, and was challenged by a group of parents who took their concerns to WSD Superintendent Dr. Bob Ranells, who subsequently banned The Walking Dead series from the school’s library. According to the school district’s policy, what is stocked in school libraries is ultimately the decision of the school board, which delegates this task to the superintendent, who delegates the responsibility to the principal, who delegates the responsibility to school librarians, meaning the superintendent is within his right to ban the title at the school.

A report from Shoshone News Press states that the books were ultimately removed from the library because they did not contain material appropriate for a “scholastic environment.” The books were then donated to the Wallace Public Library. This, however, is its own problem, as the library is in the same Interlibrary Loan Network as Wallace Junior/Senior High School, meaning students could potentially check The Walking Dead out from the local library and receive the books at the school.

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“How do we prevent these types of issues in the future?” Said Ranells. “We have discussed the idea of implementing a two-library card system where one card may only allow students access to books in the WHS library and the other allows them to use the Interlibrary loan service. I think that would be a pretty good compromise.”

The two-card system will need to be approved by the Wallace School Board before it can be implemented, though no specifications about how such a system might be implemented have been detailed. As of writing, The Walking Dead can still be ordered via the Interlibrary Loan Network.

(via Comic Book Legal Defense Fund)

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