Hacking Education

High School Bans Best-Selling Novel for Promoting ‘Hacker Culture’

So the author and publisher are sending 200 copies for the students.
Down with "Little Brother" (Facebook).

Down with Little Brother. (Facebook).

Well, that escalated quickly.

A high school in Pensacola, Fla. removed Cory Doctorow’s best selling novel Little Brother from its summer reading list because it deals with computer hacking. Mr. Doctorow responded to the ban by convincing his publisher to send 200 copies to the school for the students.

The principal of Booker T. Washington Public High School banned the popular young adult novel for its “positive view of questioning authority, lauding ‘hacker culture,’ discussing sex and sexuality in passing,” Ars Technia reported.

A parent against profanity also backed the ban, but the author claims the novel contains no profanity, only a “reference to a swear word.”

Along with the 200 copies of the novel sent to be distributed among the students, Mr. Doctorow’s also sending two lithographic posters containing the book’s full text.

“I think that the role of an educator is to encourage critical thinking and debate, and that this is a totally inappropriate way to address ‘controversial’ material in schools,” Mr. Doctorow posted on Boing Boing, where he is an editor.

According to the book’s description, the 2008 novel follows Marcus, a.k.a “w1n5t0n,” a 17-year-old who “knows how to work the system.” He and his three friends are caught in the wrong place at the wrong time, leaving them suspects in a terrorist attack. After a days-long interrogation by the Department of Homeland Security in a secret prison, Marcus is released and finds the post-attack society is a police state where everyone is seen as a potential terrorists. His only choice is to take down the DHS himself.

Surely this adventure is too much for high schoolers. It might even inspire them to hack their own class schedules so they can have class with friends.

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