Mar 8, 2007
The decision yesterday by Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox and U.S. Attorney Stephen Murphy that the four books the anti-gay hate group known as the “LOVE” PAC (Livingston Organization for Values in Education) is trying to ban from the classroom at Howell High School do not violate any obscenity laws was a little anti-climatic.
The state and federal decisions came just three days after Livingston County Prosecutor David Morse reached the same conclusion, and both the state and feds agreed there was absolutely no reason to overturn a local decision.
After forcing a review of the books by the school district, the elected school board voted to retain the books in the AP junior English class, so early last month Vicki Fyke, the leader of the hate group and the former advisor of the Livingston County Teen Age Republicans, sent a letter to Murphy, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District; Cox; and Morse claiming the four books violate child pornography laws and further made the ridiculous claim that the books' presence in high school classrooms violates the law by disseminating sexually explicit material to minors. Shockingly, the U.S. attorney actually took the bizarre step of having the FBI investigate.
As you know – as the world, unfortunately knows - “love” has been waging a losing book banning battle for the past four months against “The Freedom Writers Diary: How a Teacher and 150 Teens Used Writing to Change Themselves and the World Around Them,” Nobel Prize winning author Toni Morrison's first novel, "The Bluest Eye," an acclaimed memoir written by Richard Wright in 1945, "Black Boy " and the classic Kurt Vonnegut novel "Slaughterhouse Five.” The group falsely claims they are pornographic.
Cox basically said the community, in the form of the elected school board, made the decision, and he has no legal authority to overturn or change that.
"Your community expresses its wishes on how the schools are going to be administered by the election of individual school board members," Cox wrote in a March 6 letter that appeared in the Livingston County Daily Press and Argus. "The attorney general has no statutory or supervisory authority over the elected board of education and cannot, by law, oversee the performance of the board in its duties, responsibilities and judgments."
Murphy simply said the books do not violate federal law.
"The material complained of was thoroughly and carefully reviewed by the FBI and this office. We have concluded that the material submitted nor it's inclusion as part of the schools required English curriculum constitutes a violation of federal law. No further action will be taken by our office."
Fyke, usually very quick to fire off a press release, has been very silent, and that includes the blog of the school board member who is also a “love” member.
However, Fyke has said she has a “plan B” up her sleeve if this ploy fails, so we have most likely will not heard the last of this fringe group.
I hope we remember the trouble and grief this hate group caused when we go to the polls for the school board elections in May.