Parent who fought Harry Potter appeals decision to state

LAWRENCEVILLE - Just when it seemed Harry Potter had fought and won his latest battle, he will be facing yet another a series of challenges. And this time, it will be at the state level.

Laura Mallory, a Loganville mother of four, is appealing the Gwinnett Board of Education's unanimous decision to keep the best-selling books on school shelves.

Her appeal will continue the debate that began when Mallory filed complaints against each of the six books, writing that they included "evil themes, witchcraft, demonic activity, murder, evil blood sacrifice, spells and teaching children all of this."

At a public hearing on April 20, educators, parents and students passionately showed their support or opposition for the "Harry Potter" series.

Both the local school and system media committees recommended that the Harry Potter books stay in schools' libraries. Hearing officer Su Ellen Bray echoed their support in her recommendation, in which she included 10 reasons she thought the books should not be removed.

At its May 11 meeting, the Gwinnett Board of Education upheld the decisions of the committees by voting that the Potter books should remain.

Mallory had 30 days in which to file an appeal in writing, which she did Friday, said Sloan Roach, spokeswoman for Gwinnett County Public Schools.

Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks will now have 10 days to submit a copy of the appeal, the transcript of evidence and proceedings from the public hearing, and all other related materials to the Georgia Board of Education.

Once the appeal is filed with the state, the legal services division of the Georgia Department of Education will determine the next step in the Harry Potter saga.