New York Times
Suit Challenges School Book Ban
Published: May 14, 1987
PANAMA CITY, Fla., May 13— Students, teachers and parents have gone to court to challenge a school board policy banning classroom use of four plays by Shakespeare, Ernest Hemingway's ''The Old Man and the Sea'' and dozens of other classics.
The class-action lawsuit was filed Tuesday in Federal District Court in Pensacola by 44 residents of Bay County. They contend that their constitutional rights have been violated by the book policy of the Bay County School Board and the Superintendent of Schools, Leonard Hall.
Mr. Hall maintains that he was elected to ''restore Christian values to the schools.''
Books considered for classroom use are placed in three categories: works that contain no vulgarity or explicit sex; those with a ''sprinkling'' of vulgarity, and books with the curse ''goddamn'' and ''a lot of vulgarity.''
Books from the third group cannot be discussed in the classroom. Among them are Shakespeare's ''Twelfth Night'' and ''The Merchant of Venice,'' and the novels ''Mister Roberts,'' ''Fahrenheit 451,'' ''The Great Gatsby'' and ''The Red Badge of Courage.