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Nashville Catholic school bans 'Harry Potter' series because its content risks 'conjuring evil spirits'


School superintendent says each school is responsible for setting its own rules regarding such matters.

Photo by Alex Wong/Newsmakers

A Nashville, Tennessee, Catholic school has removed all copies of J.K. Rowling's "Harry Potter" series from its shelves out of fear of spells inside "conjuring evil spirits."

What are the details?

The Tennessean reported that students at St. Edward Catholic School will not be able to read the books in school any longer.

The Rev. Dan Reehil, the school pastor, reportedly sent an email out to staff revealing the change after consulting with fellow pastors and exorcists across the U.S. and in Rome.

"These books present magic as both good and evil, which is not true, but in fact a clever deception," a portion of Reehil's email read. "The curses and spells used in the books are actual curses and spells; which when read by a human being risk conjuring evil spirits into the presence of the person reading the text."

Rebecca Hammel, superintendent of schools falling under the Catholic Diocese of Nashville, said that the diocese doesn't actually have an official position on books in the "Harry Potter" series, and pointed out that each school is responsible for setting its own rules regarding such matters.

"Each pastor has canonical authority to make such decisions for his parish school," Hammel said in a statement. "[Reehil] is well within his authority to act in that manner.

"I know that in the process they were going through and kind of weeding out some of the content in hopes of sprucing it up and improving the circulation," she said.

Hammel pointed out that the district is not in the business of censorship.

"Should parents deem that this or any other media to be appropriate we would hope that they would just guide their sons and daughters to understand the content through the lens of our faith," Hammel said. "We really don't get into censorship in such selections other than making sure that what we put in our school libraries is age appropriate materials for our classrooms."

What else?

The school, which is a pre-K through 8th grade Catholic school, opened a brand-new library for the 2019-20 school year, according to the outlet.

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