Song of Solomon won't be silenced at Franklin Central


Rich Van Wyk/Eyewitness News

Indianapolis - A controversial book taken from Franklin Central students is back in the classroom. The superintendent says keeping the novel in the curriculum for now is in students' best interests.

Song of Solomon, the work of Noble Prize-winning author Toni Morrison, is back in the hands of Franklin Central students.

"Regardless of the heat we experience we do what we think is right in the best interest of children and I think we've done that," said Dr. Walter Bourke, Franklin Central superintendent.

But when some parents complained to a school board member about the novel's profanity, sexuality, and violence, the superintendent ordered the book taken away from students pending a committee review.

"We found through the committee this is not so objectionable to require its removal," said Bourke.

Two teachers, a parent, a board member, an assistant superintendent and principal agreed that despite the book's graphic passages, in total, it's good literature.

"The committee reached a consensus overwhelmingly that it was appropriate for a class, especially English AP 2," said Kevin Koers, Franklin Central High School principal.

The Song of Solomon, though controversial, is far from new. School officials say it's been part of the advanced placement curriculum for eight years.

At the public library it is shelved with many of the better known classics that are required reading for high school students.

"It is a very poignant book that is also part of the AP exams and kids can earn college credit if they are successful," said Bourke.

But school board member Scott Veerkamp, who raised the objections, hasn't changed his mind.

"I made it clear how I feel about the book. My children will not read the book. I will not read the book," he said. "I wouldn't encourage any minor to put they eyes on that book."

Franklin Central insists no one will be forced read the book. Any of the one hundred Advanced Placement students who object will be given an alternative.

A review committee will continue looking at Song of Solomon to determine whether it should remain part of the curriculum.

Note: This story has been updated from its original version to reflect the decision made by school board members.