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Of Mice, Men and School Boards: Coeur d'Alene Trustees Will Consider Controversy Over Novel Tonight

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An ad hoc committee of the Coeur d'Alene School Board said it counted 102 profanities in 110 pages inside John Steinbeck's 1937 classic Of Mice and Men, and they say that's reason enough to remove the book from their district's ninth-grade required reading list. But the full Coeur d'Alene School Board will have the final say this evening.

The challenge came in early May from committee member and northern Idaho Magistrate Judge Gene Marano, who said, the book was "too dark for ninth-graders." A spokesman for the school district told Boise Weekly that a 30-day comment period would be necessary so that the public could weigh in on the issue.

This morning's Coeur d'Alene Press reports that at least 16 comments—15 letters and one phone call—were received by the district, with 14 encouraging the board to keep the Steinbeck novel available to ninth-grade teachers to assign to students.

Board members confirmed that several book challenges have occurred in the district in the past decade and that the district has an opt-out policy for parents who object to any required reading materials.

This evening's school board meeting is set for 5 p.m., Pacific Time at the Midtown Center meeting room in Coeur d'Alene.