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Adult Of The Week

For adults who embody the
wisdom of censoring the young.
(send nominations to

Opposite of Honorary Teenager.

Friday, April 28
Alan Keyes
2000 Republican presidential candidate

For backing a plan to mandate blocking software on library Internet terminals with the quote, "Don't use the First Amendment. That's some excuse to destroy our children's lives and souls."

Friday, April 21
Jerry Falwell
Minister and radio commentator

For urging parents to forbid their children from watching "The Teletubbies", saying that one of the muppet-like characters, who carries a purse and has a triangular ornament above his head, is obviously gay.

Friday, April 14
Christopher Ager, Shelly Uscinski, and Virginia Twardosky
Members of the Merrimack (New Hampshire) Board of Education through 1995

For voting in favor of a policy in Merrimack schools prohibiting any discussion activity that portrayed homosexuality in a "positive" light. (Board members Kenneth Coleman and Brenda Grady voted against the policy.) Ager said the purpose of the policy was "to give peace of mind to parents who know better how to handle delicate issues." The policy resulted in the censoring of books and instructional videos in classrooms, including the removal of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night from school libraries. (According to John Mark Ockerbloom's Banned Books Online page, readers from Merrimack reported that the board members who passed the policy were voted out in 1996, the policy was rescinded, and Twelfth Night was returned to schools.)

Friday, April 7
C. James Slye
Spotswood (Virginia) High School Principal

For ordering a teacher to remove pamphlets from his classroom door promoting "Banned Books Week", an observance established by the American Library Association to raise awareness of books that have been censored in schools and libraries.

Friday, March 31
Byron Welch, Chance Allen and Ted Heers
Administrators of Ponder (Texas) Independent School District

For having a seventh-grader Christopher Beamon jailed for six days after he wrote a horror story for a Halloween-themed school writing assignment, in which he shot some of his friends from the English class.

Friday, March 24
Guy W. Sims
Muscogee County (Georgia) Superintendent of Education

For complaining that Emanuel Luetze's classic painting of Washington crossing the Delaware, which appeared in the district's history textbooks, made it look like Washington was exposing himself (the object lying across his hip was actually a watch). Teachers spent two weeks altering the painting in 2,300 copies of the textbooks before Sims would approve their use.

Friday, March 17:
Ronald Straley
Principal of Fairfield High School in Fairfield, PA

For threatening to block a senior from graduating for including the following item in her "senior will":
"To you Dr. Straley, I leave a book that has helped me quite often throughout the time I have spent in high school. This book is entitled ‘ACLU, The Rights of Students.’ I hope you find this book as useful as I have."

Friday, March 10:
Pat Buchanan
Crossfire commentator and sometime presidential candidate

For long-time insistence that "parents have the right to insist that godless evolution not be taught to their children in public schools".

Friday, March 3:
Irving Heinz
Parent of a student at John F. Kennedy High School in West Columbia, Texas

For leading the drive in his school district to ban classroom discussions of the Starr Report in late 1998 to keep "smut" out of the classroom, after sitting in on an honors class and getting into an argument with another parent over the merits of impeachment.

Friday, February 25:
Gary Feenstra
School Superintendent of Zeeland, MI

For imposing a ban on classroom readings of the Harry Potter books in Zeeland classrooms as of November 22, 1999, and creating a rule requiring fifth-through-eighth graders to get parental permission slips before checking the books out of school libraries.

Friday, February 18:
Irv Bos
Vice President of the Holland, MI chapter of the American Family Association

For an account of his conversion to the anti-pornography cause. As his story goes, he was a child hiding in his father's barn and reading the "good parts" of an adult paperback, when a lightning bolt came down from the heavens and hit the barn, burning it to the ground. Of his decision to tell the story, Bos said, "My goal in this entire thing is to educate the public."

Friday, February 11:
Gloria Sankauer
Warren, MI city councilwoman

For a shouting match with a librarian that ensued after Sankauer, who had passed an ordinance against viewing pornography in the town library, could not get the librarian to help her find pornography on the Internet that she needed for a city council presentation. "My need was urgent," said Sankauer to the Detroit Free Press. "I needed pictures of this disgusting, appalling porno on the Internet."

Friday, February 4:
Gloria Hamilton
Principal, Greenbrier High School, Evans, Georgia

For suspending student Mike Cameron when he wore a Pepsi t-shirt on "Coke Day", a day on which the school competed for a $500 prize awarded by Coca-Cola Corporation to a school for featuring a "Coke" theme in the day's curriculum. (Fade To Black magazine interviewed Gloria Hamilton and later Mike Cameron about the episode.) Principal Hamilton called the incident "disruptive and rude".

Friday, January 28:
Walt Plum
Trustee, Salt Lake Education Foundation

For having the Salt Lake City School district distribute a pamphlet he authored, How Parents Can Help Children Live Marijuana Free, listing "preoccupation with social causes, race relations, and environmental issues" as a warning sign of marijuana use. Debate coach Jacque Conkling said two mothers called her and forced their children's withdrawal from the school debate team after reading the pamphlet.

Friday, January 21:
Jon Watkins
Webmaster of the "Exposing Satanism" Web site

For warning parents of the satanic influence of the Harry Potter book series. Includes the cautionary note: "The author also uses occult terms in her thinking. Look at this new age phrase. 'I have a very visual imagination. I see it, then I try to describe what is in my mind's eye.' This minds eye concept is the heart of the new age movement."