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[whitespace] Not Exactly Censorship, II

San Jose--What can parents do with elected board members who promote pornography in the classroom? Sheryl Taylor, president of the Parental Rights Organization, says there's only one thing to do: get them fired. And so Taylor's group will file a petition this week to recall three San Jose Unified School District board members, she says.

On May 21, the San Jose Unified school board voted to keep the controversial book, Always Running--La Vida Loca: Gang Days in L.A., on the district's supplemental reading list. A story about the author's teenage years in the barrios of Los Angeles, the book contains graphic sexual description, profanities, drug use and even a rape scene.

Supporters of the book remind critics that author Luis J. Rodriguez wrote the provocative memoir to deter his son and other youths from gang involvement. Still, PRO parents say, it's trash that minors should not be reading.

"This is a basic fundamental issue of whether or not pornography can be sanctioned in classes," Taylor says.

Although the school board voted unanimously to keep Always Running in the district, only trustees Carol Myers, Jorge Gonzales and Gary Rummelhoff will be served recall notices. Board members Richard Garcia and Veronica Grijalva Lewis escaped the PRO's hit list because they're up for reelection this November.

Twenty percent of registered voters in each trustee area must sign the PRO's recall petition in order for it to qualify for a special election to be held in the Spring of 1999.

"I think the reason this has gone this far is because people feel like the board doesn't listen to the demands of the parents," Taylor says. "We had 2,000 signatures asking them to remove this book and they didn't."

Assemblyman Jim Cunneen has also written a letter to San Jose Unified requesting the board members investigate the district's method of parental notification. "This is not censorship," he writes, "just common sense."
Cecily Barnes

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