Several parents at Stillwater Public School are demanding that the district ban certain books from school libraries. They said some had very explicit sexual material. Parents voiced their concerns at a recent school board meeting.
Parents approached the podium with a list of novels. A few books they want out are “The Truth About Alice” and “Me, Earl and the Dying Girl”. Parents called the content highly sexual and non-educational.
“I don’t know who is in charge of our libraries, how the books get there, or who checks them, but that’s just not appropriate,” Karen Flack said.
Other parents disagreed and said children deserved the chance to learn from different angles.
“Children are lively and they read using their own moral compass. These instill values most often used by the family are to guide them through reading. Books do not have the power to corrupt as some fear,” said Robin Fuxa.
Stillwater Public Schools said there was a process that needed to take place before a book could be removed.
“Stillwater Public Schools, like most districts, has a process by which parents can request material be reviewed. District procedures for document review are included at the end of this statement. The district has not received such requests recently.
Our library books are selected by our professional library media specialists. They largely include laureates and most of the texts are highly recommended by professional library organizations.
In each situation, we take parents’ concerns seriously and hope to work with them to find a solution that is right for their child. If a child is assigned a book that parents object to for a grade, we ask that they start at that level; alternative texts may be offered to students by their teacher. If there is a book they do not want their child to have access to, we ask that they have a conversation with their school so that their wishes for access to their child’s library can be honored.
If parents discover a text that they believe does not belong to the library, we ask them to initiate a formal request for the district to review the material in question. This process allows us to evaluate texts of concern to determine if they have a place in our libraries, which may or may not result in the removal of a text, depending on the results of this evaluation.
Whenever a parent or guardian finds content objectionable, we welcome their conversations with our educators. We believe that ultimately, conversations around literature enlighten us all to different perspectives and a deeper understanding of each other.
“They’re hiding behind a process here instead of saying listen I don’t know how I got here I’m going to find out and I’m going to make sure this doesn’t happen again I’m going to make sure this is out of our schools,” said Ryan Walters, Education Secretary.
State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister said in a statement:
“Decisions about books in public school libraries are made entirely at the local level by duly elected school boards. Parents need to be involved in this process and have a say in what their children have access to. There are steps in the law by which these books can be reviewed, and those steps must be followed.
News 9 contacted April Grace, who is also running for state superintendent, but we did not hear back.