Freedom to Read at Marion High School
In Kentucky, readers rejoice. At tonight’s open reconsideration committee meeting, Emily Veatch defended the right for her students to read Looking for Alaska by John Green. She was supported by librarians all over the country and right there in Lebanon. Educators attended the meeting with buttons, t-shirts, and signs opposing the censorship of this book in the entire high school. And they succeeded!
Thank you to everyone who wrote a letter, tweeted, shared a blog, or sent an email. Especially Marion County Public Librarians Elaine Rahn, Amanda Morgeson, and Jama Watts for sharing their pictures with me.
Even with supporters standing behind her, I’m sure Ms. Veatch was nervous in front of the committee. There is a feeling that you get in the pit of your stomach. Your head is light because your blood is rushing in your ears. Your palms are sweaty but you don’t want to wipe them on your clothes. And when all eyes are on you and you know your voice is going to tremble, you take a deep breathe and do one of the bravest things you will ever do in your career. You stand for your students. You defend their fundamental right to an idea. You hold sacred the need for them to find a book that changes their life.
Most students and readers don’t know about the hundreds of decisions and actions intellectual freedom heroes do every day to protect their First Amendment rights. It’s great to be able to recognize the perseverance and bravery in Lebanon, Kentucky.
Thank you to everyone who came out to support the book & my choice to teach it. LOOKING FOR ALASKA STAYS AT MCHS #fREADom #DFTBA @johngreen
— Emily Veatch (@EmilyVeatch) May 2, 2016
Below is the public defense that Ms. Veatch gave to reconsideration committee. The Marion County Seniors are lucky to have her as a teacher.