February 27, 2014

Watauga board moves meeting site at request of police

Tonight’s meeting has been moved from the Education Center to the Watauga County Courthouse.

The Watauga School Board has moved the site of Thursday night’s meeting at the request of law enforcement officials, school systems officials say.

The meeting, scheduled for 7 p.m., has been moved from the Education Center to the Watauga County Courthouse, at 842 West King Street.

The board is scheduled to vote on whether to remove a novel, “The House of the Spirits,” from the 10th-grade Honors English curriculum. A parent requested the action last fall, saying the book depicts graphic violence.

Two committees of teachers at Watauga High have studied the issue and recommended that the book remain in the curriculum.

Earlier this week, Boone police and High Country Crime Stoppers of Boone announced that several teachers at Watauga High School had received letters they considered threatening. A family member of one teacher told The Observer that all 11 English instructors at the school received the letter.

Interim Superintendent David Fonseca issued a statement Monday condemning the anonymous letters.

“This threat is a despicable attempt to intimidate a very professional and accomplished group of educators who deserve our respect,” Fonseca said in the statement.

Boone police said they are investigating the letters.

School officials say the courthouse has seating for more than 200 persons, about twice the size of the Education Center. But they also say the meeting will not have a time for public comment. The only speakers will be the parent who requested the book’s removal and the teacher in the class where the book is used.

The English department faculty and student English Club at Appalachian State University in Boone has scheduled a rally in support of keeping the book in the curriculum. That rally is set for 4 p.m. in the ASU Student Union.

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