Banned Books 2021 – The Things They Carried

Marshall University does not ban books! The information is provided to let people know what has been banned/challenged elsewhere.


The Matanuska-Susitna (Mat-Su) Borough School District School Board in Palmer, Alaska, voted 5–2 to remove five books identified as controversial from the school curriculum: The Things They Carried, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Catch-22, Invisible Man, and The Great Gatsby. The board also voted to remove the New York Times Learning Network as a teacher resource. The concern cited by the board members was sexual content that could cause controversy. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings was also challenged for “anti-white messaging”; one board member claimed that it could generate an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission lawsuit. The Office for Intellectual Freedom — joined by Alaska librarians, the Freedom to Read Foundation, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, and the American Booksellers for Free Expression—sent a letter to the Mat-Su school board urging them to return the books to the curriculum. After the community protested the board’s vote, it rescinded its decision and the books remain available in the schools.


A student at Bingham High School (Jordan, UT) protested the book’s use in classrooms on the basis of language and sexuality. The student’s mother asked, “Is it appropriate for those kinds of details for that kind of language, for that level of sexuality in it to be taught in a public school setting? My daughter could not legally walk into a movie with a glimpse of what is in this book.” As of this writing, this collection of vignettes from the Vietnam War remains on a list of approved books for a senior class, pending a review.


Challenged in the Troup (TX) School District because the book is “vulgar,” “complete garbage trash,” and “filled with sexual content and profanity.” The book is a collection of short stories about a platoon of American soldiers in the Vietnam War.


Retained on the Northwest Suburban HS District 214 reading list in Arlington Heights (IL) along with eight other challenged titles. A newly elected school board member raised the controversy based on excerpts from the books she’d found on the Internet.


Banned from the George County(MS) schools because of profanity.


Challenged, but retained, in Pennridge (PA) because of the book’s strong language.

On These Pages

A Banned book has been removed from a library, classroom, etc.
A Challenged book has been requested to be removed from a library, classroom, etc.

For additional information contact

Ron Titus,

Last updated

September 14, 2021