At 10:17 P.M. on Jan. 26, one of the most celebrated book-banning controversies in the country ended.
The board of the Island Trees Union Free School District in Levittown, N.Y., voted 4 to 3 to keep on the shelves nine books that it had banned from its school libraries in 1976.
Last June, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the board's action warranted a trial to determine whether the First Amendment's free-speech guarantee had been denied to the five students who challenged the book ban.
Shortly after the Court's ruling, a parents' group gave the board a petition with 1,200 signatures urging that the books be returned to the library shelves.
The board agreed in August to return the books to library shelves with a requirement that students receive parental consent in order to read them. But the American Civil Liberties Union took its case to New York Attorney General Robert Abrams, who said in December that the board's newest requirement would violate a law on the confidentiality of library records.
Among the once-banned books: Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.; Down These Mean Streets, by Piri Thomas; A Reader for Writers: A Critical Anthology of Prose Readings, compiled by Jerome Archer; Soul on Ice, by Eldridge Cleaver; and Go Ask Alice, by an anonymous writer.
A federal district judge, saying he reached his decision "with considerable reluctance," has dismissed the Goldsboro, N.C., public schools' desegregation lawsuit against the schools in outlying Wayne County.
Lawyers for the city school district had argued that the suburban schools had refused for racial reasons to merge or change their district borders. But in his Jan. 28 ruling, U.S. District Judge Franklin T. Dupree Jr. said that "the jurisdiction of the federal courts cannot be invoked," in the case.
"I hasten to say that I reach this result with considerable reluctance," he added. "My sympathies in this case, if I may be permitted to have some, are wholly with" the city district's school board.
The Rev. Everett Sileven, pastor of the Faith Baptist Church and Superintendent of the Faith Christian School in Louisville, Neb., has completed his four-month jail sentence for refusing to close his Christian school in defiance of court orders.
Mr. Sileven, who, according to his wife, has temporarily left Nebraska, objects to state education-department requirements that he use state-certified teachers in his school, and has been fighting the state for several years over the issue.
His case is one of several continuing conflicts between the state and church-affiliated private schools.
The school has been closed since Oct. 22, and its students have taken instruction at home.
The New York City school district's continuing budget crisis took a turn for the better last week when the state agreed to provide $9 million to avoid layoffs of 1,000 teachers.
However, 100 administrative job cuts are planned, as well as cutbacks in free bus service for some 5th- and 6th-grade children, and a five-cent increase in lunch fees.
The state contribution was the final piece needed in a $40-million compromise package between the city, state, and school district. The city contributed $l3 million to avoid the teacher layoffs.
"There's a tremendous feeling of relief from top to bottom," said a school-district spokesman.
Vol. 02, Issue 20