STONINGTON, Conn. (WTNH) — Usually budget talks bring out the crowds and that was the reason for a special board of education meeting at the high school set for Thursday, but that agenda item was trumped by concerns over a book at Mystic Middle School.
George Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’ is no longer part of the curriculum at the Stonington school. It was dropped, which has some parents upset.
“It was a pivotal book for me. It was definitely one of the books I read in school that sort of changed and developed the way I think about the world, think about things, other people, and my relationships to other people,” said Kelsy April, who read the George Orwell 1945 classic when she was in Ed Goldberg’s eighth grade language arts class. He’s been using it to teach for more than twenty years.
“He has a passion for the book and I think that it’s probably one of his favorite books to teach and it’s a bummer that he’s not going to be able to teach it anymore,” said April.
The Superintendent of Schools Van Riley is expected to explain at Thursday’s meeting why the book was dropped and parents can react. April is now manager at Bank Square Books in Mystic and Savoy Books in Westerly which book end Stonington.
“I think that it is important to read that book whether it’s in school or outside of school,” said April. “So that’s why I decided to make it a staff pick.”
In the past week she’s sold out of Animal Farm. “Definitely a renewed interest,” said April.
The Orwellian classic tells the story of pigs who take over a farm but then a dictatorship develops. The book has been selling out nationwide as some relate it to the current political climate. April didn’t want to comment on that.
“Reading Dystopia especially now is important just to keep an open mind and just to stay awake to things going on,” she says.
The special meeting begins at 7:00 p.m. in the Stonington High School Commons.
The Board of Education chairman Frank Todisco tells News 8 if the board did want to take action on this matter it would have to do so during a regular meeting and the next one of those is next Thursday.