Baptist NC couple ask court to ban book from son’s school

North Carolina news

CHARLOTTE, N,C, (AP) — A North Carolina couple have asked a federal appeals court to overturn a judge’s decision allowing a charter school to teach a novel the plaintiffs describe as a “frontal assault” on their Christian beliefs.

Robin and John Coble of Huntersville also asked the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, to issue an emergency restraining order banning “The Poet X” from their son’s class at the Lake Norman Charter School until the case is resolved, The Charlotte Observer reported Tuesday.

The school began teaching the novel to its freshman language-arts students this week after U.S. District Judge Max Cogburn ruled on Friday that the Cobles, who are Baptists, had failed to prove their child would be harmed by the book — or that the school endorsed the novel’s criticism of organized religion.

The couple filed their appeal of Cogburn’s order on Monday.

Sara Lay, community relations director at the school, said Lake Norman Charter is confident that it will prevail. The Cobles’ attorney, Joel Bondurant, said his clients’ claims go beyond the fact that their son will be exposed to anti-religious material.

“Our position is that a state actor, much less a secondary public school, cannot promote or use materials that explicitly disparage a particular faith tradition,” Bondurant said.

“The Poet X,” written by Elizabeth Acevedo, won the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. It focuses on how a Dominican American girl’s discovery of Slam Poetry brings meaning to her life.

Throughout the book, Xiomara struggles with her mother’s Catholicism. At the same time, she relies on the guidance of a friendly priest and by book’s end has begun developing a spiritual side, albeit one that is different from her family’s.

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