from The Courier-Tribune

‘Invisible Man’ back in county schools

By Kathi Keys

ASHEBORO — “Invisible Man” will once again be on the shelves of Randolph County Schools’ high school libraries.

The Randolph County Board of Education decided, by a 6-1 vote, at a special meeting Wednesday evening to reinstate Ralph Ellison’s book, “Invisible Man,” to the county school library shelves. Casting the dissenting vote was board member Gary Mason.

On Sept. 16, the board, by a 5-2 vote, originally decided to ban the book after receiving a parent’s complaint about the book, the decision bringing international attention to Randolph County over the past week. The book was one of three selections to choose from on Randleman High School juniors’ summer reading list; both school-level and district committees recommended the book stay on library shelves.

Before Wednesday’s 6-1 vote, board members who originally voted to ban the book spoke to the approximately 50 people who attended the meeting about their reasoning and other considerations since the first vote. Many of those present were media representatives.

Mason said he reread the book since the last meeting and deliberated about the ban for several days. He talked about dedicating “his entire life to the safety and protection of other people” and his obligations to parents, students and the citizens who had elected him to represent them.

He said he remained concerned about the “strong language” in the book. “I still feel it is not appropriate for children or young teens to read,” Mason said, adding that he realized that others would disagree with him for opposing the book.

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