Public Responses

The case of censorship at Whittier Middle School dominated the local news for several weeks of 2009. It received heavy coverage from The Daily Oklahoman, central Oklahoma’s major newspaper outlet.

Ellen Hopkins herself provided much of the crucial commentary to be found about the Whittier Middle School case; she wrote two detailed blog posts during the dispute which voice her frustrations at the Norman Public School administration and censorship in general.

In her first post, written shortly after the complaint was filed, she expressed this:

Who has the right to keep books that do these things off the shelves? And the bigger question, who has the right to keep ANY books off the shelves? Who gets to decide? One parent and a misguided school superintendent?

Ellen Hopkins, “Manifesto!!!”

This post also contains an excerpt of Hopkins’s poem “Manifesto,” which she wrote in support of Banned Books Week. The full poem can be found here.

Perhaps the most controversial public response came in the form of an editorial opinion-piece, “My Two Cents” with Kelly Ogle, which aired on Oklahoma City’s Channel 9 News on September 22, 2009. “My Two Cents” is a weekly segment where Ogle voices his (usually conservative) opinions on local and state issues. While we were unable to locate any footage of the segment, the accounts of it provided by Karin Perry in True Stories of Censorship Battles in America’s Libraries and Ellen Hopkins’s own blog posts suggest that Ogle agreed with the decision to remove Hopkin’s books from the library and cancel her visit. The newscaster apparently admitted to not having read Glass, but that by scanning it he encountered the f-word several times. In “On Censorship,” Ellen Hopkins urged her fans to reach out to Kelly Ogle and voice their disagreement with the segment. This is probably why we were unable to locate the footage online.

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