Milford Exempted Village Schools will not remove “In the Time of the Butterflies” from its 10th grade English curriculum, officials announced Thursday morning.
The district reviewed the novel after receiving three civil complaints that considered its content sexually inappropriate and a threat to Christian values. They are the only requests to get through the central office for at least five years, said director of secondary curriculum and education Paul Daniels.
Located in the northeast suburbs of Cincinnati, Milford Schools serves approximately 6,600 students in Clermont County. Its high school is ranked among the top 60 Ohio schools, according to US News & World Report magazine.
Parents who filed complaints said the book’s theme is “sex and evil” and that it exposes children to “an unhealthy view of sexuality, pornography” and hinders the Christian faith.
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“Assigning this book is willing and deliberate to level out obscenity to minors,” one parent wrote.
Controversy erupted on social media after members of the Milford community wrote a post on Facebook about the book, leading to hundreds of comments from both sides.
“WARNING, THIS CONTENT IS EXPLICITY! Our 10th graders are being forced to read this pornography at school!” user Amy Boldt wrote in a 15-minute Facebook group.
A committee consisting of parents, teachers and administrators read and reviewed the book per. board policy and met Wednesday night to vote on whether the book should be banned from Milford’s curricula. After a discussion, five committee members voted to continue including the book in the curriculum, and one voted to limit it to “more mature students.” No one voted to remove the book from Milford’s curriculum.
In the end, Superintendent John Spieser decided to keep “In the Time of the Butterflies” as part of the English curriculum for 10th grade students, the letter reads.
“The novel is an important component of the approved curriculum, it reflects Milford Vision and our Portrait of an Eagle, and parents continue to have the option of choosing alternative texts that their child can read if they find that it is in their best interest. to do so, “Spieser wrote to the district’s families.
Spieser reiterated that parents and guardians always have the right to choose an alternative text to any teaching material if they believe that a required reading is not in their child’s best interest. Alternative reading for this section of the curriculum includes “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime” by Mark Haddon; “A Separate Peace” by John Knowles; and “Station Eleven” by Emily St. John Mandel.
More about the novel ‘In the time of the butterflies’
The novel, by Julia Alvarez, was published in 1994. It takes place in the Dominican Republic of the 1960s and follows the involvement of three sisters in the opposition to the dictatorship of General Rafael Leónidas Trujillo. It is a notable book from the American Library Association and was selected for the National Endowment for the Arts’ Big Read program, which offers grants to support community reading programs designed around a single book.
“In the Time of the Butterflies” has previously been banned, though it is not currently listed in Pen America’s latest index of banned books in schools in 2021 and 2022, which includes nearly 1,600 titles.
The book was removed from a high school in New York in the fall of 2000. The Port of Washington’s Board of Education rejected Alvarez’s novel because of a drawing included in it showing how to build a bomb, according to the New York Times.
Milford Schools adopted “In the Time of the Butterflies” in its curriculum in the 2014-15 school year, district officials said.
The book and other learning materials “adapt the Milford vision to inspire and prepare our students to reach their full potential in a diverse and dynamic world,” reads Spiezer’s message.
“We appreciate the active involvement of parents, guardians, students, staff and community members in the important work that takes place in the classrooms,” Spieser wrote. “We are especially grateful to the talented teachers and staff at Milford Schools who work every day to help our students become the empathetic lifelong students we hope to inspire.”