Internet Monk, a high school English teacher, among other things, posted this just after I posted on Potter below:
"our students read Shakespeare in all four high school grades. This includes the witches and murderers in Macbeth, the ghosts in Julius Caesar and Hamlet, and the violence and mature themes in all of Shakespeare’s plays. If Shakespeare were to be confiscated for these elements, I would have to consider whether OBI [his school]could maintain its reputation as a “real” school with a curriculum comparable to other private schools.
"Yet Harry Potter is sometimes confiscated for the same elements, even though any reader of both will tell you that Rowling is far more clearly, teachably, “moral” in her story-telling than Shakespeare is in his plays.
"Why is the wizard Gandalf in Lord of the Rings legal, but the wizardry in Harry Potter illegal? Why is the “magic” in the Narnia stories legal, but the magic in Potter illegal? The same question could be asked of Merlin the Magician or even of the Witch at Endor in the Bible."
Again, don't take this as blanket endorsement of Potter, on my behalf. I've only read part of the first book and wasn't very impressed. I may give them a second chance in the future. I'm just trying to get us past knee-jerk negative reactions to the portrayal of the supernatural in pop culture stories...