What’s Wrong With Georgia?

April 22, 2006

From News 11 Atlanta:

Gwinnett Mom Battles Harry Potter

Harry Potter has a new foe — a Gwinnett County parent who wants the popular boy wizard books banned from Gwinnett County school libraries.

On Thursday afternoon, parents and students spoke at a hearing that will ultimately decide whether the books will stay or go.

People who love the books say they are happy that kids are reading the books as much as they are. They say that the books are ultimately about good versus evil. But opponents say that the books with their magic wands and spells are all about evil.

“I’m a true example of how Harry Potter books can open your life to witchcraft,” said Jordan Susch.

Susch says she read the first Harry Potter novel when she was in the fourth grade. Two years later, she says, she and her friends were practicing witchcraft.

“We wanted to know if spells, potions and curses worked. By the seventh grade, I was so depressed, I set a date to kill myself,” Susch said.

Susch has joined Laura Mallory’s fight to get the novels removed from the Gwinnett County Schools’ shelves.

“I want to protect my kids, children and others from evil,” Mallory said. “Not fill their minds with it.”

Other students spoke in favor of the books, saying that it is a fictional book, and that they don’t confuse fiction with reality.

Fifth grader Jessica Grimes says the Harry Potter books are the very reason she enjoys reading.

“The Harry Potter books have helped me and other kids with our accelerated reading goals. So, really, the books help us rather than hurt us in school,” said Grimes.

Throughout the district, the Harry Potter books are the most popular books in the system. Some fear that if the books are taken away, younger kids could lose interest in reading altogether.

“Did you ever see kids get excited over the opening of a book before Harry Potter?” asked seventh grader Baillie Hill.

Thursday’s session was just a hearing. The hearing officer will make a recommendation within five days to the school board. The board has another ten days to determine whether the book will remain in the school system’s libraries or not.