In one of those knee-jerk reaction-type moves, the Albemarle School Board voted to remove the Sherlock Holmes book "A Study in Scarlet" from its sixth grade reading list.
What? What is that sound? Oh! It's Thomas Jefferson rolling over in his grave!
Albemarle County, Virginia, is not some little uptight Bible belt town. It is the suburbs of the city of Charlottesville, where Jefferson's little educational project, the University of Virginia, makes the county population probably one of the most educated in the country.
My first reaction was to shake my head incredulously at this lame sort of censorship (after all, they haven't resorted to removing the book from the library shelves) and the equally lame excuse for its removal (I figured it was Holmes' drug use -- I was wrong; it was an unflattering mention of Mormonism).
If presenting specific religious sects in a bad light is Albemarle's criterion for what is recommended to students, they've got a lot of weeding out to do. Let's start with their history books...ANY history book. Historically, religious sects seem to behave in a bad light. You can only put so much sugar-coating on the Crusades or the Salem witch trials.
Then it occurred to me. I'd missed the point completely! The Albemarle School Board members are not a group of ignorant, weak-minded PC cowards. They're savvy educators who know their charges.
What a brilliant move! Now every 11-year-old will be beating a path to the public library to read the forbidden text -- they may even underline those salacious Mormon references. And, since they will probably be on a waiting list for A Study in Scarlet, they may settle for any of the other Holmes books.
Perhaps some really smart librarian can come up with a List of Books Removed from the Sixth Grade Reading List and surreptitiously circulate it in the middle school.
Rest easy, Mr. Jefferson. Education is in the capable hand of the Albemarle School Board.