'Freedom Writers' author defends teacher

March 13, 2008 at 9:11 PM
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INDIANAPOLIS, March 13 (UPI) -- The author of "The Freedom Writers Diary" reportedly has taken up the cause of an Indianapolis teacher who is in trouble for teaching her book.

Erin Gruwell told WISH-TV in Indianapolis that she felt compelled to fly from California to Indianapolis to testify before the Perry Township School Board on behalf of Connie Heermann, a teacher who may lose her job for giving Gruwell's book to her high school students without school board approval.

"A lot of students have never read a book from cover-to-cover, which was the case with my students when they read 'Anne Frank.' And so for any student to really fight to go against banning of books and censorship and for a teacher to really give those valuable lessons to their students and stand up for what they believe in I think is an incredible lesson and I'm here to support her," said Gruwell, a former teacher.

The school board is holding private hearings to decide whether to let Heermann go for what it sees as "insubordination," WISH-TV said.

School board attorney Jon Bailey has described the book, which features candid student-written diary entries, as "inappropriate."

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