Harry Potter and the goblet of ire

Certain strange rows resurface when you least expect them, such as the claim that the Teletubbies promote homosexuality, which was back in the news last week.

Another row which remains in improbable good health in the United States is over Harry Potter, specifically whether schools should ban the books because they promote witchcraft.

Laura Mallory, a mother of four from suburban Atlanta, in Georgia, has announced she will take her attempts to quash the boy wizard to the federal court.

Last week, a state judge rejected her appeal against Gwinnet county, which has decided to retain the series by J.K. Rowling in its schools' libraries.

But that has not deterred Mrs Mallory, who has been campaigning against Harry Potter since August 2005.

She told the hearing that she had testimony from children who have read the books and considered acting out spells.

"They don't want the Easter Bunny's power," she said. "The children in our generation want Harry's power - and they're getting it."

The meaning of her baffling statement remains unclear. Does she believe that the children are successfully knocking wands out of each other's hands by yelling "Expelliamus"?

Or does she think that delivering chocolate eggs is more Christian? History teachers should probably resist the temptation to write to Mrs Mallory about the pagan origins of Easter bunnies.

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