SUWANEE, Ga. The Gwinnett County school board voted last night to reject a parent's pleas to take Harry Potter books out of school libraries. The mother of three elementary school students claims the books promote witchcraft.
"At the very heart of this issue is censorship," board member Carole Boyce said before the unanimous vote. "Our students do understand the difference between fact and fiction."
Laura Mallory of Loganville, who has three children in a Gwinnett elementary school, asked the state's largest school district to ban the books by J.K. Rowling. Mallory said after the vote that she had not decided whether to appeal the board's decision.
"I knew what they were going to do, but it's good we live in a country where you can stand up for what you believe in," said Mallory, a former missionary. "God is alive and real and he says it (witchcraft) is an abomination. How can we say it is good reading material?"
Mallory filed her complaint in September. A media-review panel composed of parents, teachers and community members at J.C. Magill Elementary, where Mallory's three children are in school, rejected the complaint. The panel was backed up by the school district administrators.
Board member Mary Kay Murphy, a former English teacher, said the books help students develop the critical-thinking skills they need to be successful in high school, college and life.
"I support the value of the Harry Potter books to develop children's imagination and ability to read," she said.