December 2008

News12 Reports on New Rochelle Book Censorship

December 11, 2008 - 22:40

Mark Sudol of Channel 12 News reports from New Rochelle High School.

NOTE: you must be a Cablevision subscriber (or pay a fee) to access the web site; if you are a subscriber you can vote on the question of the day by logging in to Do you agree with teachers who censor books that they find offensive for their students?

Knopf Publishing Official Statement Condemns Censorship by New Rochelle Schools

December 11, 2008 - 17:28

119D9718-9F70-4F99-A5F3-6284B26863B2.jpgKnopf stands against the New Rochelle High School’s censorship of Girl, Interrupted.

Official Statement from Knopf Publishing

The English Department of the High School in New Rochelle, by removing pages deemed “inappropriate” from Susanna Kaysen’s memoir, Girl, Interrupted, has committed an act of censorship.

New Rochelle High Students and Alumni Organize Facebook Protest of School Censorship

December 11, 2008 - 15:19

UPDATED REACTION ROUNDUP BELOW: for those who do not have Facebook accounts, we've excerpted some of the reaction from students and alumni from New Rochelle High School below.

750C91BD-D429-4414-9C2C-3EAD0D4A3B1B.jpgSo far, 14 20 32 97 students and alumni have signed up to protest the actions of the New Rochelle School District in censoring Girl, Interrupted and the numbers continue to swell; 32 have confirmed they will attend the board meeting. The protest has spread like wildfire across Facebook with over 500 students and alumni receiving invitations; 165 invites are still pending.

The following has been posted on Facebook (you need to have a Facebook account to view or join the "cause")

It has recently been reported by that New Rochelle High School's English Department willingly removed five pages from Susana Kaysen's novel Girl, Interrupted in which the characters discussed the act of giving oral sex. Not only is this disturbing on a moral level, it is illegal.

New Rochelle High School Principal Experiences Difficulty Gathering Intelligence and Character

December 11, 2008 - 14:45

Or, he just may not be telling the truth about what he knows. Let the readers decide. As a direct response to the the post on New Rochelle Talk of the Sound,
Now Playing in New Rochelle, "Book, Interrupted"! the High School Principal was interviewed by the Journal News.

Aman Ali from the Journal News quoted Donald Conetta as saying:

"We really can't determine exactly how this came about," Principal Donald Conetta said. "But it doesn't matter. The fact is that it came about, and that's not how we operate. We don't censor and when any book is tampered with; it creates concern."

In a separate article The Journal News reported:

High school principal Donald Conetta said the pages were actually removed several years ago - he believes in 2004 - but the matter came to light when another teacher went to use the book in his class this year.

Can't really determine how this came out? It doesn't matter? Hmm... School officials were repeatedly contacted by a concerned parent for an explanation.

Two Days Late, Journal News Reports on "Girl, Interrupted" Controversy

December 10, 2008 - 22:01

lohudgirlinterrupted.jpgNo wonder newspapers are going out of business.

Two days after we first broke the story that copies of Susanna Kaysen's memoir Girl, Interrupted had been torn apart by school officials, the Journal News finally got around to reporting the story only after the school district sent them a press release.

Aman Ali of the Journal News is reporting:

School officials are distancing themselves today from the actions of the New Rochelle High School's English department staff, which reportedly tore out pages of a literature book used in a senior class because the passage included references to oral sex.

While it is nice to see our story get pick up in The Journal News - and maybe they will even put it out on the Northeast AP wire (hint, hint) - I would not that the article contains this sentence:

The news, first reported on a local blog, said someone in the school's English department tore out seven pages of the book "Girl, Interrupted".

Facing Firestorm of Criticism, New Rochelle Schools Relent on "Girl, Interrupted" Censorship

December 10, 2008 - 21:12

GirlInterrupted-Torn2.jpgIn response to our Exclusive Report on Monday, the New Rochelle Board of Education announced today that it would immediately replace all 50 copies of Susanna Kaysen's memoir Girl, Interrupted which were distributed to students at New Rochelle High School two weeks ago and undertake a review of district policy and practices regarding book selection. No mention was made of the district's "book challenge" policy which is at the heart of the Girl, Interrupted controversy.

World Reacts with Strong Condemnation to New Rochelle School's Censorship

December 09, 2008 - 16:49

GirlInterrupted-Torn2.jpgOur story yesterday on the decision of the New Rochelle school district to tear pages out of a book assigned to high school seniors has, so far, been read by well over 1,000,000 people from around the world. In the process over 2,000 new readers have come to read Talk of the Sound; readers from throughout the United States as well as places as far away as Australia, Israel, South Africa, Brazil, United Kingdom and many other countries around the world. Our story was featured on Boing Boing and Hot Air, two of the biggest blogs in the world, The New Yorker, and dozens of other blogs. More blogs are picking up the story every hour.

UPDATE: The Journal News wrote up the story, Associated Press took the story from the Journal News, Guardian UK just took it too.

Now Playing in New Rochelle, "Book, Interrupted"!

December 08, 2008 - 14:33

New Rochelle School District Censors Pages from Girl, Interrupted, Susanna Kaysen's harrowing memoir that inspired Academy Award-Winning Film starring Winona Ryder and Angela Jolie.

UPDATE: District Relents, Vows to Replace Books
Publisher Knopf Condemns Censorship in New Rochelle

Winona Ryder Angelina Jolie Girl, Interrupted.jpg

Students at New Rochelle School High School are going to find it difficult to complete their next assignment: comparing the film adaptation of "Girl, Interrupted" to the best-selling book. In the book, Kaysen recounts her confinement at a Massachussets mental hospital in the 1960's.

Annual Holiday Boutique at Trinity Elementary, a Huge Success!

December 07, 2008 - 14:49

On Saturday, December 6th, 2008, Trinity Elementary School opened its doors to the New Rochelle community in the spirit of the holidays with their Holiday Boutique. Thanks to the efforts of the Trinity Elementary School PTA, the Annual Holiday Boutique was a phenomenal success. The school gymnasium was converted into a wonderful shopping experience with a wide variety of vendors with unique gift options and an overall festive and welcoming atmosphere. Notably visible throughout the course of the day were all three Trinity Administrators, Mr. McMahon, Mr. Briceño, and Mrs. Pacheco. We commend them for taking the time. Unofficial observations would calculate the visitors in the several hundreds. This is not surprising since Trinity serves around 850+ students. Vendors were notably happy with the turnout.

Totally invisible were members of the City School District of New Rochelle Board of Education as well as members of Central Administration.

Cutting a Few Six Figured Incompetent Positions in a Bloated Leadership Structure Will Not Increase Class Sizes

December 07, 2008 - 03:08

In his message on the City School District Home page Mr. Organisciak states:

As the economy continues to sink to even further depths, the status of our schools and our entire educational system must be preserved. Short sighted decisions to save a few precious dollars cannot be acceptable, if we see increased class sizes as a result. Budget cuts and tax caps which will reduce and even eliminate programs in the arts, career education, athletics and elective courses cannot be a solution if as a result we are mortgaging our childrens future. Shortening the school day or the school year, employee furloughs, charging fees for student participation in cherished activities or worthwhile projects limit the educational opportunities for all children.

Translation: Open up your wallets, hand over the cash and don't ask questions, because if you do, it will hurt kids.