Helena censorship attempt fails

Roxanne Cleasby, a parent in Helena, Montana, was attempting to have a book about horses (Juliet Clutton-Brock's Horse) removed from her local elementary school library because it devotes two pages to discussing equine evolution. Her complaint "calls for either the removal of the entire book from the school's library or the removal of two pages — eight and nine — in the book that describe the evolutionary process." She told the Helena Independent Record (February 25, 2004) that she filed the complaint in order to draw attention to the creationism/evolution controversy, saying, "There's been lots of great scientific research done on creation that needs to be considered."

Nearly 100 people attended the February 28 public hearing on Cleasby’s complaint; almost all of those who spoke -- including a native of Afghanistan, who said that the complaint reminded him of the Taliban -- opposed the proposal to remove the book from the library or the offending pages from the book (Helena Independent Record, February 29, 2004).

Subsequently, the review committee appointed to consider Cleasby’s complaint and the superintendent of schools recommended to the school board that the book be retained. It is open to Cleasby to appeal the recommendation; additionally, according to the Independent Record, she "has discussed with school district administrators the possibility that children's books presenting the theory of divine creation be included in the collection" (Helena Independent Record, March 27, 2004).