Nampa School Board removes 24 books from district shelves

NAMPA, Idaho — Two dozen books are being removed from Nampa School District libraries following a vote Monday by administrators to ban the titles — forever.

At a regular school board meeting on Monday night, Nampa trustees approved the 24-pound withdrawal in a 3-2 vote. Directors Mandy Simpson and Brook Taylor dissented.

Nearly 1,600 books have been banned from US schools in the past nine months, according to PEN America – a nonprofit that champions free speech. Last month, the American Library Association released its annual “State of America’s Libraries” report covering book censorship. In the document, the ALA said there were 729 known challenges for library, school and university records in 2021. According to the report, these challenges attempted or succeeded in censoring 1,597 books.

Library materials became a big discussion in the Idaho legislature this year, especially after a bill that would have fined librarians $1,000 or sent them to jail for allowing a minor to check our harmful material began to make its way into the Statehouse. Although the legislation did not pass, lawmakers slashed millions of dollars from the state library commission’s annual budget.

Related: Lawmakers Have Called Some Books ‘Obscene Material’: What Does It Really Look Like?

Concerned parents in the district presented the list of titles to administrators earlier this year, arguing that the material contained sexual content, pornography or material inappropriate for children.

Nampa directors said the list was discussed at length during a board working session and previously reviewed by an internal committee. According to council documents, the panel included school librarians, district staff, educators and parents.

Of the 24 titles, the committee recommended that only six be removed from district shelves. The panel recommended the remaining 18 books for further review because of their “educational value,” according to the documents.

However, administrators supporting the ban said waiting to remove the books could expose the material to more students.

“At that time, we traumatized or caused mental destruction to these students,” Vice President Tracey Pearson said. “I think it’s too long, and in the process it could add lifelong trauma to a child who doesn’t need to experience something they’ve read. It’s very destructive and scary.

Titles now banned range from well-known classics – like The Handmaid’s Tale – to new age dramas recently turned into TV series and movies. The list also includes an informative coming-of-age health book titled “It’s Perfectly Normal: Body Changes, Growing Up, Sex and Sexual Health.”

The full list of now banned books is available here.

Related: Book bans in public school libraries are on the rise

Under NSD policy 2510, individual principals have the authority to select library materials. According to the policy, the principal may delegate this authority to the school librarian.

Individuals may “challenge” materials in the school library/media center under the “Uniform Grievance Procedure” – Policy 4120.

About Stuart M. McFarland

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