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By The Skanner News | The Skanner News
Published: 03 October 2007

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) –Just days after the American Library Association's Banned Book Week ended on Oct. 6, some Michigan school administrators want to return English textbooks that include the Pulitzer Prize-winning drama ``Topdog/Underdog,'' which made author Suzan-Lori Parks the first Black woman to win the theater award. The annual Banned Book Week encourages everyone to read works of literature that others have sought to ban because of controversial content.
If they can't return the 140 copies of ``The Literary Experience,'' administrators might cut out about 70 pages from the 1,846-page anthology before distributing it to four Advanced Placement classes, The Grand Rapids Press reported.
Parks' tale of two brothers is a dark, often wildly comic riff on sibling rivalry, a verbal and sometimes physical slugfest between two wary relatives who con not only others but themselves as well.
It won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for drama. The play contains profanity and descriptions of sexual activity.
A teacher was uncomfortable with the language and content of the play, said John Howarth, executive director of curriculum and instructional learning. The teacher sought guidance from others in the district.
The school board's Education Committee recently voted to send a letter to parents about the issue, but administrators opted find out whether the book could be returned, the newspaper reported.
If the school district can't get back close to the $8,400 spent on the books, it might remove some passages from the book, said John Helmholdt, the district's executive director for communications.
Board President Kenneth Hoskins said keeping the books could create a controversy that could easily be avoided.
``It's not as if this is a book that the state requires us to use,'' he said. ``I don't think we need to be putting ourselves in a position like this.''

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