How many complaints does it take to ban Neil Gaiman?
Just one, according to Leah Schnelbach at Tor.com.
The text of Neverwhere had been accepted as part of the reading list for nine years… and, as a result of a single complaint from a single individual who never even met with the teachers involved, it was removed.
Leaving aside the issue of whether the scene in question is sufficiently objectionable to justify removal: if they were willing to remove it after a single complaint, why did they approve it in the first place? Did they find it offensive but decided it wouldn’t matter until someone complained? That’s disturbing in one way. Did they not find it offensive but were willing to remove it at the slightest hint of parental discomfort? That’s disturbing in another.
What’s truly tragic is that everyone else, even the student body, seems to have enjoyed the book. It’s been many years since my horrific journey through the American educational system, but as I recall dimly through the mists of time, enjoying the act of reading was uncommon, and enjoying reading assignments was even rarer. Removing something that the students liked is a serious loss, both to the kids and to the people whose responsibility it is to educate them.
And why? A few F-bombs and some light petting.