An email surfaced recently from a Chicago principal informing his staff that the graphic novel Persepolis has to be pulled from bookshelves per Chicago Public Schools directive. He gave no reason and even admitted that he did not know the reason.
The rhetorical question I heard thrown around the most was, "Are we in Texas?" Chicago Public Schools is known for its terrible policy decisions, but book banning is something new to Chicago.
CPS seems to be doing nothing right recently. Last week, CPS' head media flak told the Chicago Tribune that it was ok to stuff 40 students into a classroom. CPS' CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett told WBEZ that the community "got it" and saw the need to close schools. This was after several weeks of community hearings, many of which were taken over by community members demanding no school closures.
One of dozens of community hearings where 100 percent of speakers said no to school closings
Byrd-Bennett pulled a Mitt Romney citing "binders" as her main source for her take on the closings issue.
Persepolis is the story of a young girl growing up during the Islamic revolution in Iran. She is an inquisitive girl who speaks truth to power and refuses to believe the lies of a tyrannical government. She suffers censorship and austerity at the hands of powerful ideological bureaucrats.
Maybe it hits a little too close to home for CPS.
Update -- CPS has retracted the full ban and is now stating Persepolis is banned only from the 7th grade classroom but will be available in school libraries. One hundred sixty CPS schools have no libraries.