Chinatown Wars Cover Gets Nintendo Power Yanked From School Library; ACLU Steps In

March 24, 2009 -

The American Civil Liberties Union has intervened after a middle school library in Ohio removed the November, 2008 issue of Nintendo Power.

The issue, which features a gun-toting female character from Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars, was taken out of circulation at the Roxboro Middle School Library at the direction of Principal Brian Sharosky, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

However, ACLU of Ohio executive director Christine Link argued that the magazine should not have been banned from the library:

Literature should not be removed from a school library simply because one person may find it inappropriate... [the school board should] immediately order that the magazine be reinstated.

Despite Link's argument, the Cleveland Heights-University Heights School Board has backed the principal's decision to remove Nintendo Power #234. With legal action on the matter increasingly likely, legal director Jeff Gamso offered the ACLU's position:

The principal doesn't get to say, 'Whatever I say goes.' There's got to be some mechanism by which decisions are made and a process of review. Or maybe tomorrow it'll be ' "Hamlet" -- that's an iffy play.'

UPDATE: Liz Surette of GamesLaw has provided a legal analysis of the issues in this case:

This situation is almost exactly like a case called Board of Education v. Pico, in which parents petitioned the school board to remove specific books that were “improper fare for school students” or “just plain filthy”.

The Supreme Court held that once a publication is in a school library, it may not be removed just because it is thought objectionable. The school board may decide which books and periodicals to purchase, but once they are made available on the shelves the children have a right to access that information. If the removal was motivated by a desire to deny students access to ideas with which the school disagrees, then it is unconstitutional.

However, the Court also said that the First Amendment is not implicated if the materials are removed because they are "pervasively vulgar" or if the decision was "otherwise based solely upon the 'educational suitability' of the books". The key fight here will be whether the principal removed NP for partisan/political reasons. I could go into much more detail about the policy rationale behind Pico and tensions with later cases, but suffice it to say that based on precedent the ACLU would surely win if they could prove that the principal pulled the mag just because he found it offensive or disagreeable.


Comments

Re: Chinatown Wars Cover Gets Nintendo Power Yanked From School

Why is it that violent videogames get targeted and not violent littrature or violent Shakesphere plays?

I would call this evident of the Generation Gap, where an older generation of people attack something they are not used to, but they don't attack something of the same calibour if they had been exposed to it when they were children or younger teens.

Imagine what Shakesphere would have had to put up with when his playes were first criticised for being too violent for the youth of Europe.

It is all possible that it did happen at one time.

 

TBoneTony

Re: Chinatown Wars Cover Gets Nintendo Power Yanked From School

Nintendo Power is the kid friendliest of all the gaming magazines. I couldn't think of one more appropriate for schools.

Re: Chinatown Wars Cover Gets Nintendo Power Yanked From School

Agreed.  Sort of.  ^^;

"HEY! LISTEN!"

"HEY! LISTEN!"

Re: Chinatown Wars Cover Gets Nintendo Power Yanked From ...

I agree it should be taken away because it has no place in a school whether the cover had GTA or Mario. I think the fact that people sensor things that they personally disapprove of is bullshit like what this principal did. He took it away because he was offened. If we banned things because people get offednded the world would be a very empty place.

"With free speech either all of it is ok or none of it is." Kyle Broflovski

Re: Chinatown Wars Cover Gets Nintendo Power Yanked From ...

So are you saying then the only things in a library to read should relate to class work only, ie only non-fiction? That means no Harry Potter books, no Cronicles of Narnia, no His Dark Materials, no fiction at all. Take away any kind of 'fun' reading, and kids won't read.

Besides, schools will typically also carry magazines like Rolling Stone, Cosmo, and Sports Illustrated. Are they as educational as NOVA or National Geographic? No. But they do give kids interested in music, fashion, or sports something to read. The game magazine is something for those that like video games to read. There is more to game mags than just product placement.

Re: Chinatown Wars Cover Gets Nintendo Power Yanked From ...

So are you saying then the only things in a library to read should relate to class work only, ie only non-fiction? That means no Harry Potter books, no Cronicles of Narnia, no His Dark Materials, no fiction at all. Take away any kind of 'fun' reading, and kids won't read.

As someone who spent literally the entirety of his school years in and out of the library every few days checking in/out another load of books, I wholeheartedly support this statement.
---
I'm not under the affluence of incohol as some thinkle peep I am. I'm not half as thunk as you might drink. I fool so feelish I don't know who is me, and the drunker I stand here, the longer I get.


---
I'm not under the affluence of incohol as some thinkle peep I am. I'm not half as thunk as you might drink. I fool so feelish I don't know who is me, and the drunker I stand here, the longer I get.

Re: Chinatown Wars Cover Gets Nintendo Power Yanked From School

Don't underestimate the effect Hamlet can have on young children. That's some messed up stuff, right there.

Re: Chinatown Wars Cover Gets Nintendo Power Yanked From ...

Ok, bit of explination for those who did not read the article.

The ACLU is not trying to say 'this should not be removed'.  What we have here is a case where people who did not have the authority to ban a publican side stepped the normal process and pulled it anyway.  The librarians and teacher union are squaring off againt the priciple and the school board on a matter of procedure.

But the core of the problem here is that, as said, an individual side-stepped proper procedure to ban reading material and kept the teachers/librarians completely out of the loop.   This was a naked power grab plain and simple.

Re: Chinatown Wars Cover Gets Nintendo Power Yanked From School

It's dumb to pull the whole magazine for just a single cover... (even though there are several worse i've seen over the years... Turok 2 with a bloody arrow, the infamous Castlevania 2 art with Dracula's severed head...)

But the thing the puzzles me is, why would they put Nintendo Power in a MIDDLE SCHOOL library to begin with? I mean, it's by no means a bad magazine, but for that age-level, you'd figure they'd keep it... you know, centered on learning. I don't remember there being any magazines of that nature in my high school, let alone middle school.

Re: Chinatown Wars Cover Gets Nintendo Power Yanked From ...

Libraries keep a wide range of periodicals for archival purposes.  Today's pop-trash is tommorow's source material for a paper.  Considering such material contains things like interviews and game details they could easily be drawn upon as source material for papers on the video game industry, history of technological innovation, etc.

Plus, school libraries are often dual-purpose since depending on the town it might be the only library that these children have easy access to and thus it needs to serve a wider range of age-specific needs.

Re: Chinatown Wars Cover Gets Nintendo Power Yanked From ...

(Also in response to other reply)

Well, i get that. I suppose i should have said that there's a difference. I mean you have your fiction, sometimes including manga and comic-type stuff like my high school did, and then there's your referentials, which are kinda different.

For example, the library had several large books that were sort of info havens on things like X-Men, Transformers, and so on, (hell, they're how i learned about several Marvel/DC entities) but that's different in comparison to magazines. That's what i was trying to say.

Re: Chinatown Wars Cover Gets Nintendo Power Yanked From School

Schools have plenty of recreational reading in the library. nOt everything has to have educational value.

E. Zachary Knight
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
http://www.theeca.com/chapters_oklahoma

Re: Chinatown Wars Cover Gets Nintendo Power Yanked From ...

Can't say I blame the school for pulling this particular cover, but it's dumb to pull the whole magazine.

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Believe in something! Even if it's wrong, believe in it! -Glenn Beck

-------------------------------------------------------- Believe in something! Even if it's wrong, believe in it! GET OFF MY PHONE! -Glenn Beck

Re: Chinatown Wars Cover Gets Nintendo Power Yanked From ...

the Cleveland Heights-University Heights School Board has backed the principal's decision to remove Nintendo Power #234

 

Unless you meant they should pull the cover off and put the rest of the issue back?

Re: Chinatown Wars Cover Gets Nintendo Power Yanked From ...

Oh, I thought that they pulled the entire magazine. So it's all good then. And pulling off the cover is actually not a bad idea.

--------------------------------------------------------

Believe in something! Even if it's wrong, believe in it! -Glenn Beck

-------------------------------------------------------- Believe in something! Even if it's wrong, believe in it! GET OFF MY PHONE! -Glenn Beck

Re: Chinatown Wars Cover Gets Nintendo Power Yanked From School

Discussion of Nintendo and NOBODY has commented onthe ALCU representative's surname being "Link"? Poor.

/b

Re: Chinatown Wars Cover Gets Nintendo Power Yanked From School

Great, now I'm disappointed that the principal's name isn't Ganon or Ganondorf or Ganon Dorf.

 

"That's not ironic. That's justice."

"That's not ironic. That's justice."

Re: Chinatown Wars Cover Gets Nintendo Power Yanked From School

This is a tricky issue, since the majority of viewers will be elementary school students.  This is very different from the issues with billboards.

"HEY! LISTEN!"

"HEY! LISTEN!"

Re: Chinatown Wars Cover Gets Nintendo Power Yanked From School

MIDDLE SCHOOL.

 

It says right at the top that it's middle school...I don't get how/why people would even say elementary...

-If an apple a day keeps the doctor away....what happens when a doctor eats an apple?-

-Optimum est pati quod emendare non possis-It is best to endure what you cannot change-

Re: Chinatown Wars Cover Gets Nintendo Power Yanked From School

Please, do not start up the 'Nintendo is the kid-centered company' stuff here. None of the big three have any obligation of that type.

Re: Chinatown Wars Cover Gets Nintendo Power Yanked From School

I think Chaplain99's comment is more to do with it being in a School Library, if the majority of people who were going to see it there were adults, there'd probably be a bigger issue to raise than magazine content.

(Disclaimer: I have no idea what ages middle school covers)

Re: Chinatown Wars Cover Gets Nintendo Power Yanked From School

Exactly.  Because this is not a "public" library, the school has the right (the word "right" being used very carefully here) to display only that media which it deems appropriate for its students.  Although, to be fair, I went to a Catholic elementary school, and they had copies of Nintendo Power there, so...  ^^;

Oh, and because it was a Catholic school, it went from pre-K through 8th.  So, it was an elemiddle school.  ^^

"HEY! LISTEN!"

"HEY! LISTEN!"

Re: Chinatown Wars Cover Gets Nintendo Power Yanked From School

Yes, but the entire Nintendo Power demographic covers all of Nintendo fans. Most of whom are not children. So they are not directly marketing it to kids. The fact that the magazine is found in a children's school library does not negate teh greater demographic.

E. Zachary Knight
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
http://www.theeca.com/chapters_oklahoma

Re: Chinatown Wars Cover Gets Nintendo Power Yanked From School

Uhhh... why are there copies of Nintendo Power in an elementary school library in the first place? Shouldn't any literature in a public school library have some kind of redeeming value?

I'm a hard-core gamer, have been for 25 years or something, but even I can see the problem with having gaming mags in a school library.

Re: Chinatown Wars Cover Gets Nintendo Power Yanked From ...

You mean middle school?

I think it's a great thing for middle schoolers. It encourages them to read more by providing them something interesting to read instead of always forcing them to read "curricular" literature. When I was in middle school I read Nintendo Power all of the time, because it was entertaining and informational. A young gamer (or otherwise young person) that doesn't like reading in school would probably enjoy reading a magazine that suits them, and should be encouraged to do so.

-If an apple a day keeps the doctor away....what happens when a doctor eats an apple?-

-Optimum est pati quod emendare non possis-It is best to endure what you cannot change-

Re: Chinatown Wars Cover Gets Nintendo Power Yanked From ...

Most middle schools are elementary schools, they go from K-8. It's my impression that actual middle schools that go from, say, 6-8 are uncommon.

Re: Chinatown Wars Cover Gets Nintendo Power Yanked From ...

Never heard of a school that's like that, and the school district's website says that school is only 6-8 grades. I think they'd say elementary school if it was otherwise...

Uncommon perhaps in your area, but very common in mine and I'm assuming a "fair" part of the midwest...

-If an apple a day keeps the doctor away....what happens when a doctor eats an apple?-

-Optimum est pati quod emendare non possis-It is best to endure what you cannot change-

Re: Chinatown Wars Cover Gets Nintendo Power Yanked From ...

Like the other person said, it depends on your area. The schools in my area are like what he described, though they didn't used to be. When I went through the school system, back in the 80's, it was 1-6 elementry, 7-9 jr high/middle, and 10-12 high. But the schools here are not in the same building. Even back then my jr high and high school had some video game mags. Nintendo Power being one of them. They also had a lot of the 'women' magsm Cosmo and the like. Not much 'educational' info in those, unless you were studing fashion.

Re: Chinatown Wars Cover Gets Nintendo Power Yanked From ...

It depends on the region.  In my area (PA) middle schools can be integrated into the elementry school, the high school, or be independent.  Most here though split [K-5][6-8][9-12].  In my school the middle school and high school were physically the same building while the elementry schools were spread around as satalite schools.

Re: Chinatown Wars Cover Gets Nintendo Power Yanked From ...

Doesn't it at least get kids to read?

Re: Chinatown Wars Cover Gets Nintendo Power Yanked From ...

I suppose, but I'm not convinced that's the best way to do it. I mean, by the time a kid is in the 5th grade it shouldn't be, necessarily, about just getting them to read, they should know how to do that without "practicing", but at the same time there's got to be a way to encourage them to read while still being somewhat educational.

Even sports magazines would be okay, as far as I'm concerned (for whatever that counts, largely nothing, admittedly) because it gets kids interested in physical activity, at least. But then, I'm that kid that went to the library at lunch instead of going outside because I knew I'd get beat up, and besides, reading Norse and Greek mythology was vastly more interesting than anything the other monkeys were doing outside.

If you're trying to get kids to read, you have to know what they're interested in, which is no doubt where the Nintendo Power came from, obviously, I'm just not sure that I'd like to see gaming mags in public elementary schools.

Re: Chinatown Wars Cover Gets Nintendo Power Yanked From ...

Magazine subscriptions are standard at almost all libraries. What makes Nintendo Power less valuable to the mind that Sports Illustrated? How about the educational values of US Weekly and People magazine? Time magazine doesn't promote any health benefits, does that get the axe too? And of course, you can't have a discussion about magazine appropriateness without talking about the big floppy titties in National Geographic.

Re: Chinatown Wars Cover Gets Nintendo Power Yanked From ...

I think the question I would ask, instead of what makes NP less valuable, is what makes it more valuable? Moreover, what makes it valuable at all? And, quite honestly, I would apply the same to any magazine subscription, including SI, for that matter. I only cite the sports publications because I think it might be a good thing to get kids interested physical activity, which I'm sure we can all agree is a good thing for kids.

My complaint isn't against NP solely, the criticism that I have is that, because our educational systems (both Canadian and American) are slipping and have been slipping for years, is it not reasonable to suggest that we really have a good look at the educational, instructional and constructive value of the publications we provide to students in public elementary schools? I think it is, and as much as I love games and consider myself a life-long gamer, I'm not sure NP is a good choice.

Re: Chinatown Wars Cover Gets Nintendo Power Yanked From ...

My question is, why does it have to have more or less value than anything else in the library for it to be there? It's just sitting there on a magazine rack, kids can look at it or not look at it. It's not like teachers are passing out copies during class. Most single books cost in the general ballpark area of a 1-year magazine subscription, it's not like they're significantly hurting the budget and, yes, having material in the library relevent to students' interests is, in my opinion, a good thing.
---
I'm not under the affluence of incohol as some thinkle peep I am. I'm not half as thunk as you might drink. I fool so feelish I don't know who is me, and the drunker I stand here, the longer I get.


---
I'm not under the affluence of incohol as some thinkle peep I am. I'm not half as thunk as you might drink. I fool so feelish I don't know who is me, and the drunker I stand here, the longer I get.

Re: Chinatown Wars Cover Gets Nintendo Power Yanked From ...

I wish my middle school had Nintendo Power in the library; that would've been so much better than the 10 year-old issues of Time, People, and Cosmopolitan.

Re: Chinatown Wars Cover Gets Nintendo Power Yanked From ...

It only got pulled because it's GTA.  If it were Killzone or Halo or even Saint's Row it would have never happened.  Principal probably say "GTA", knee-jerk instinct kicked in and he pulled it.  Now I don't know if the ACLU could win in this case since for some asinine reason middle school and high school libraries are treated differently but I don't understand the reasoning behind pulling it.  Nintendo Power isn't exactly going to be displaying the bloodiest, most violent images in the game.

Besides I bet you anything that most of the kids in that school who own a DS already own the game.  They don't even need the magazine.  They're playing it at lunch time.

 

Tea and cake or death! Tea and cake or death! Little Red Cook-book! Little Red Cook-book!

Tea and cake or death! Tea and cake or death! Little Red Cook-book! Little Red Cook-book!

Re: Chinatown Wars Cover Gets Nintendo Power Yanked From ...

That's actually not the case at all, or you'd have Playboy in circulation in school libraries.  There are allowed regulations on content in public school libraries.  You're going to find books in college libraries that aren't in high school libraries, and books in high school libraries that aren't in middle school libraries.  Most school boards have a method for which a complaint can be issued about book content and if the school board or whatever organization deems it a worthy assesment, they will pull the book.

This is no different than the fact that High School newspapers aren't granted freedom of the press.  Anyone under 18 is not an adult and technically according to the supreme court has limited rights under the supervision of their guardian.  Which in this case is their school.  The school then deems what is appropriate content for the age group visiting their school library.

Books aren't any different than video games. Which is actually an argument that supports self-regulation of game ratings. If they rate games with certain content are rated M, then essentially libraries are following the same guidelines by keeping books with that content out of minors hands.

I'm not promoting this. I am saying that there isn't much anyone can do about this. There is plenty of precident for pulling this material, and the ACLU won't win.

Remember, this is a school library, not a public library.  Big difference.  This wouldn't happen at a public library. Hell, they do keep playboy in circulation at most public libraries.

www.thelobbyist.net

Re: Chinatown Wars Cover Gets Nintendo Power Yanked From ...

Actually, I would think no, Playboy wouldn't be available.

You'd first have to eliminate the laws regarding the sale and distribution of those magazines and books that limit the retail sale and/or lease of those specific materials to indivdiuals under a certain age.

You would also have to eliminate community standard laws (which, because of their misuse over the past couple of decades, I would actually support).

Materials which aren't available legally for retail should be treated the same in libraries, public or otherwise.

Nintendo Power isn't restricted by law in retail, so why in a library?

Nightwng2000

NW2K Software

Nightwng2000 has also updated his MySpace page: http://www.myspace.com/nightwing2000 Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as http://groups.myspace.com/pfenl

Nightwng2000 NW2K Software http://www.facebook.com/nightwing2000 Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as http://groups.myspace.com/pfenl

Re: Chinatown Wars Cover Gets Nintendo Power Yanked From ...

I believe the ALCU is concerned about the fact the process was side stepped, not that material was removed form a middle school library.

The principle acted unilaterally which is a problem..

Re: Chinatown Wars Cover Gets Nintendo Power Yanked From ...

"That's actually not the case at all, or you'd have Playboy in circulation in school libraries.  There are allowed regulations on content in public school libraries."

Well the school board does indeed do regulations of Literature. The argument the ACUL is making (i belive) is that the school should not banned an entire piece of Literature because of an artical they do not like (or in this case a magazine cover).

If i had more time before work I would had found the court records of a simular trial.

 

http://www.magicinkgaming.com/

Re: Chinatown Wars Cover Gets Nintendo Power Yanked From ...

I completely agree. This would be the same as pulling the entire Time magazine, just because you don't agree with the article that got the cover. Or a copy of National Geographic because one article shows the breasts of an African tribal member.

Aside fro mthe GTA article/cover, there are many other things in the magazine that would not be found offensive. Perhaps they should have just removed the offending article.

E. Zachary Knight
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
http://www.theeca.com/chapters_oklahoma

Re: Chinatown Wars Cover Gets Nintendo Power Yanked From ...

Even more, their argument is that IF such regulation is deemed necessary, it must have due process with proper management. At the blink of an eye, one single person doesn't get to decide for the entire school what is and isn't appropriate.

"There's got to be some mechanism by which decisions are made and a process of review."

Re: Chinatown Wars Cover Gets Nintendo Power Yanked From ...

They clearly keep Playboy for the articles

Re: Chinatown Wars Cover Gets Nintendo Power Yanked From ...

Re: Chinatown Wars Cover Gets Nintendo Power Yanked From ...

The ACLU: Defending sex and violence exclusively since 1920...

Come on, people. It's a fricking middle school.

Re: Chinatown Wars Cover Gets Nintendo Power Yanked From ...

Why should they have any less freedom than anyone else? Kids should have just as many rights as adults, and abuses of power like that which the principal did are bad no matter what setting it's in.

-If an apple a day keeps the doctor away....what happens when a doctor eats an apple?-

-Optimum est pati quod emendare non possis-It is best to endure what you cannot change-

Re: Chinatown Wars Cover Gets Nintendo Power Yanked From ...

Yes. Let's also yank out racist propaganda from schools. You know Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. Can't have our middle schoolers subjected to racism now can we.

E. Zachary Knight
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
http://www.theeca.com/chapters_oklahoma

Re: Chinatown Wars Cover Gets Nintendo Power Yanked From ...

Wow... you are seriously equating Nintendo Power to Huckleberry Finn.

I'm sorry, folks but THERE IS NO slippery slope here. Banning a magazine does not lead to a nationwide silencing of real literature.

Re: Chinatown Wars Cover Gets Nintendo Power Yanked From ...

There are plenty of schools out there that would love to ban Huck.  Allow this one school to ban Nintendo Power because they don't like the content, they'll want to know why they can't ban that racist filth.

Re: Chinatown Wars Cover Gets Nintendo Power Yanked From ...

 

Also let's remove Flowers for Algernon (this book had a lot of sex) because our girls could become porn star just from reading it.  It'll also promote underage sex and teenage pregnancy also.

 
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quiknkoldOne of the tennants of Gamergate is to stand up against Harrassment. That Gamers arent like those assholes. We can argue for days if the Sexism or Antifeminism or corruption is there or not, But the one thing I believe in and wear on my sleave is that09/17/2014 - 7:35pm
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