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Some oppose teaching 'In Cold Blood' at Glendale High School

September 25, 2011 | 12:47 pm

Crucible Since its publication in 1965, Truman Capote’s “In Cold Blood” has been widely recognized as a seminal work in American literature, frequently appearing on high school and college reading lists.

But the contents of the nonfiction novel, which detail the brutal murder of a Kansas family, are apparently too macabre for some Glendale Unified School District officials and parents who are seeking to block a request by a high school English teacher to add the text to the district’s advanced English curriculum.

The debate started midway through the 2010-11 school year when long-time Glendale High School English teacher Holly Ciotti submitted a request to add “In Cold Blood” to a list of books approved by the district for use in advanced placement language classes.

Capote’s work is a great fit for the class, Ciotti said, because it introduces students to the American judicial system and the death penalty, among other contemporary topics. It is also superbly written and allows students to form their own opinions, she told the Glendale News-Press.

“In Cold Blood” is used in classrooms across the country and Ciotti said she considered the request little more than a formality.

But while the book received unanimous support from the district’s English Curriculum Study Committee, which is composed of high school teachers, it hit a snag with the Secondary Education Council. Its membership — made up of high school principals — expressed reservations, as did members of the PTA.


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-- Megan O'Neil, Times Community News

Photo: An advanced placement language class taught by Glendale High School teacher Holly Ciotti discusses Arthur Miller's "The Crucible." Credit: Raul Roa / Times Community News