By Starla Pointer • Staff Writer • 

'Eleanor & Park' still out, but book will go to reconsideration committee

YAMHILL -- "Eleanor & Park' will remain on the shelf, rather than in eighth-grade classrooms at Yamhill-Carlton Intermediate School. 

But school board members voted unanimously Monday night to send the controversial novel to a reconsideration committee -- a step that was skipped in January when the board bowed to parent complaints about the book's bad language and abruptly removed it from use.

The committee, which will be appointed in March, will include five community members along with a teacher, a librarian, an administrator and a student. Sixteen people have applied for the five openings. The board will do a blind screening of the applications and choose the top five based on their qualifications and interests.

More than 80 parents, other community members,  Y-C teachers and students packed the board meeting room for a discussion about whether to send the book to the reconsideration committee. Board members stressed they weren't there to hear about the merits of the book.

However, many of the 22 people who spoke did just that.

Some said the language was not acceptable in school and that the book would encourage bad behavior. Morals should be taught at home and church, not in the classroom, they said. "Filth," one man called the novel.

Others spoke in favor of using the novel to open discussions about issues critical to teens, such as bullying and abuse.They called it a great learning tool.

And some talked about not the book per se, but to its use with eighth-graders.  It's not age appropriate for 13-year-olds, some said. "Eighth-graders are you adults, not children," one woman said.

Tim Pfeiffer started the discussion by apologizing for pushing his fellow board members to take a vote on removing the book last month. He said he should have followed the district's regular practice of sending questioned materials to a review committee.

However, he said, he makes no apology for his opinion of "Eleanor & Park": it should not be used at YCIS.

For more, see the Friday print edition of the News-Register