INDIANAPOLIS Up to 150 students at a Missouri high school that ordered "Slaughterhouse-Five" pulled from its library shelves can get a free copy of the novel, courtesy of the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library, library officials said on Thursday.
The offer for students at Republic High School comes on the heels of the Republic School Board's decision to remove Vonnegut's novel and Sarah Ockler's "Twenty Boy Summer" from the curriculum and the school library shelves.
"All of these students will be eligible to vote and some may be protecting our country through military service in the next year or two," Julia Whitehead, the executive director of the Vonnegut library in Indianapolis, said in a statement.
"It is shocking and unfortunate that those young adults and citizens would not be considered mature enough to handle the important topics raised by Kurt Vonnegut, a decorated war veteran. Everyone can learn something from his book."
Slaughterhouse-Five, considered Vonnegut's most influential and popular work, is a satirical novel centered around the bombing of the German city of Dresden during World War Two.
The Republic School District took the move at its April 18 meeting following a complaint lodged by local resident Wesley Scroggins in the spring of 2010.
In his complaint, the Missouri State University associate business professor called on district officials to stop using textbooks and other materials "that create false conceptions of American history and government or that teach principles contrary to Biblical morality and truth."
Neither Scroggins nor Republic School Superintendent Vern Minor were immediately available for comment.
Whitehead said she was talking with the American Civil Liberties Union in Missouri and Indiana to support the First Amendment rights of the students at Republic High School.
The offer of a free book to any Republic high school student who requests one is a way for the fledgling 7-month-old library, located in Vonnegut's hometown, to show support, she said.
(Writing and reporting by Susan Guyett; Editing by Mary Wisniewski and Cynthia Johnston)