LOS ANGELES - The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California together with the law firm of Greines Martin, Stein & Richland, the American Library Association and the National Coalition Against Censorship are pleased to announce that the Norwalk-La Mirada High School district has agreed to return William Styron's acclaimed novel Sophie's Choice to the La Mirada High School library. The book was abruptly removed from the school's library after a parent complained about selected isolated portions of the novel.
The ACLU/SC stepped in after students expressed concern that their First Amendment rights had been violated. Shortly after hearing about the decision to pull the book from the school's library, the ACLU/SC together with Greines Martin, Stein & Richland sent a letter to the school district asking for the novel to be returned to the school's library. The American Library Association and the National Coalition Against Censorship, along with other organizations dedicated to free expression, also wrote letters to the district protesting the district's decision to remove the book. In response to that letter, the school district has agreed to return the book to the shelves of the La Mirada High School library.
"We are very pleased the school district has recognized the student's First Amendment rights and returned this classic novel to the school's library so that others will have a chance to read it as well," said Peter Eliasberg, Managing Attorney with the ACLU/SC. "Once the district was informed of the possible First Amendment violations, it was swift in reviewing and remedying the situation and we appreciate the prompt action."
Sophie's Choice by William Styron is a widely acclaimed novel dealing with the grueling experiences of a Holocaust survivor. It has received the National Book Award and was also made into an Oscar-winning film in which actress Meryl Streep delivers what is widely regarded as one of her best performances.
"This really is a victory for free speech, thankfully the district realized that the First Amendment applies to students as well," stated Jens Keopke of Greines Martin, Stein & Richland. "We are pleased that students will continue to have access to such a fine piece of literature."