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Oct 18, 2010 10:23 PM by Ariel Wesler

Kaffir Boy stays on shelves at San Luis Obispo High School

A controversial autobiography will stay on bookshelves at San Luis Obispo High School. The decision comes after the school received an anonymous complaint from a parent. A seven-member panel met this afternoon to decide whether to pull the book from the school's shelves.

Kaffir Boy by Mark Mathabane chronicles his experiences growing up in South Africa under Apartheid. The problem for some is page 72, where three graphic lines describe the boys engaging in sodomy for food.

A good-size group showed up for the meeting, but not a single person spoke out against the book. Parents and students said the graphic nature is all part of getting the real story across. The book is currently used in a 10th grade Honors World History class. A lot of parents in today's meeting were upset the process got this far and teachers say they are willing to be accommodating.

"If these parents had called me, which they never did and said, here's my obejction. I would have said ok. We'll do something else and we'll do it in a way where your student will not be singled out."

Kaffir Boy is approved by the state Department of Education, but due to compaints nationwide, the American Library Association hast put it on a list of the 100 most challenged books in the past decade. An abridged version of the book has also been published.

The librarian at San Luis Obispo High did some checking. She says only two high schools on the Central Coast, St. Joseph and Santa Maria do not have the book on their library shelves.

Thanks to a school board member, the author will be speaking at Cal Poly Thursday night. He will discuss his book and the issue of censorship.


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