updated 12/14/2006 2:40:38 PM ET 2006-12-14T19:40:38

The Georgia Board of Education voted Thursday to uphold a local school board’s decision to leave Harry Potter books on library shelves despite a mother’s objections.

The board members voted without discussion to back the Gwinnett County school board’s decision to deny Laura Mallory’s request to remove the best-selling books.

Mallory, who has three children in elementary school, has worked for more than a year to ban the books from Gwinnett schools, claiming the popular fiction series is an attempt to indoctrinate children in witchcraft.

“It’s mainstreaming witchcraft in a subtle and deceptive manner, in a children-friendly format,” said Mallory, who is considering a legal challenge of the board’s ruling. “The kind of stuff in these books — murder and greed and violence. Why do they have to read them in school?”

Gwinnett school officials have argued that the books are good tools to encourage children to read and to spark creativity and imagination. Banning all books with references to witchcraft would mean classics such as “Macbeth” and “Cinderella” would have to go, they said.

J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books, published by London-based Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, have been challenged 115 times since 2000, making them the most challenged texts of the 21st Century, according to the American Library Association.

The challenges most often claim that the series encourages children to question adult authority and promotes witchcraft, said Deborah Caldwell-Stone, the deputy director for the association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom.

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