The challenged book remains in the USD 305 library

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USD 305

Salina Public Schools has again determined that a library book has recently been challenged, All boys are not blueby George M. Johnson, remains on the shelf.

In accordance with board policy, a district-wide appeals committee was formed after a second appeal was filed. After reading and reviewing the book, the committee decided that the book should remain in the library. In the report, the committee listed several features that contributed to its decision, including:

Exploring self-acceptance when you don’t feel you belong or are marginalized by society.

●Exploring the dynamics of an imperfect family and how to find a network of support and security.

●Access a memoir with themes of reassurance during a formative age of sexual development and self-doubt.

While the committee agreed that some passages in the book might be of concern to some, individual concerns should not result in a ban on entry to all students. The United States Supreme Court has specifically ruled that local school boards cannot remove books from school library shelves simply because they dislike the ideas in the books. †

In view of the concerns of parents, the committee discussed ways in which parents/guardians could supervise their own pupil. Currently, schools assign students a Destiny account, a library management system that records what materials the student checks out. Students can access that account from home, allowing a parent to check what their student has checked out and providing an opportunity for family discussion.

The committee recognized that greater communication with parents and guardians about these processes would be helpful for those wishing to discuss with their students what they read and get from the school library. In particular, information about the media center’s processes should be provided annually during online enrollment and at least once in school newsletters.

Another recommendation was the development of a process for parents and guardians to inform the school of their supervisory preference. This would allow a concerned parent or guardian to provide “parental consent” before their student checks out a book.

The district’s process for addressing any issues with textbooks and instructional materials is clear**. The first step is a conversation between the person concerned, the school principal and the media specialist of the library. The next step is a building committee.

This committee concluded that the book will remain in the library, after which a request for a second notice of objection was received. A district-wide appeals committee was formed to review the book as the second appeal. That committee consisted of the director, the deputy director, the media specialist of the library, the superintendent of the media specialist of the library, an adviser, three teachers and three citizens.

† † †

Board of Education v. Pico, 457 US 853 (1982).

*Council Education Policy IF

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