by David Safier
Dr. Word has seen the arguments. TUSD banned books used in MAS classes; TUSD did not ban books used in MAS classes. He has decided the most accurate description of what has happened is this: TUSD has instituted a discriminatory, open-ended ban on the use of certain texts by certain teachers.
Let us begin with a definition of the verb, "to ban": "To prohibit, especially by legal means. . . . To prohibit the use, performance, or distribution of <ban a book>."
Did TUSD prohibit the use of certain books, including Shakespeare's The Tempest? Absolutely. Was it a total and universal prohibition? No, not in all cases. Some books were only banned from use for specified teachers -- those who previously taught MAS courses.
According to a TUSD press release,
Every one of the books listed above is still available to students through several school libraries.
It has been incorrectly reported that William Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” is not allowed for instruction. Teachers may continue to use materials in their classrooms as appropriate for the course curriculum. “The Tempest” and other books approved for curriculum are still viable options for instructors.
Is The Tempest a "viable option" for MAS teachers? The answer is No, according to former MAS teacher Curtis Acosta. He was instructed not to use the book. Hence, the book is banned from use by certain teachers. The fact that some of these texts can be used by some TUSD teachers but not by teachers who formerly taught MAS classes means the ban is discriminatory. One might say the ban discriminates against certain teachers, or one might say it discriminates between teachers. Though the semantic connotations of the two phrases are different, the meaning is similar. Some TUSD teachers can use certain texts in their classes. Other teachers, even those teaching the same courses, cannot.
The press release also insists the books have not been banned because they have merely been "boxed and stored as part of the process of suspending the classes." That is the classic definition of a ban. The books have been "boxed and stored" to prohibit their use. It is possible the district might approve and reinstate the books for use at some later date, but then again, it may not. Hence, the ban is open-ended -- possibly temporary, possibly permanent. At this moment, however there is no question; the books are banned.
Dr. Word's clear conclusion, using the English language to convey a specific, accurate meaning, is: TUSD has instituted a discriminatory, open-ended ban on the use of certain texts by certain teachers.