School district implements one of ‘strictest’ form of book ban yet after rowdy meeting – The Daily Beast

One of Pennsylvania’s largest school districts implemented the state’s “strictest” book ban policy after community members, parents, teachers, and even board members signed up at a raucous board meeting.

The Central Bucks School District, Pennsylvania’s third-largest school district passed its new book removal policy in a 6-3 vote Tuesday night. The new policy allows only one adult—whether a parent, guardian, or community member—to simply challenge the book “on the basis of convenience” and eventually remove it entirely from area libraries. The Board will organize a committee to review the “appropriateness” of the book being contested but it is not clear what will happen to the book’s copy during the review.

In the policy frameworkIt says, “No material in Elementary Libraries should contain visual or implied depictions of sexual acts or imitations of such acts, express or implied written descriptions of sexual acts, or visual representations of nudity or implied nudity.” Similar rules apply to middle schools, but they are given special allowances for anatomy studies and “classic works of art.” High school students cannot access books that contain “visual or implied depictions of sexual acts or imitations of such acts, or explicit written descriptions of sexual acts”.

Opponents of the new policy did not hold back during Tuesday’s packed meeting, rejecting the proposal to unfairly target the LGBTQ+ community and censor ideas.

Stephen Albert, an English teacher, addressed the board meeting to loud applause: “The ban of your proposed book is vicious and distasteful.” “You are, once again, careless in the lives and reading of children.”

Even the members of the board of directors could not refrain from squabbling, and got into a heated argument in front of the dozens of attendees before the official voting began.

Member of the Board of Directors, Dr. Tabitha del Angelo, who voted against the new policy, said the district already had guidelines in place for objectionable books, and that the new policy would give parents the ability to control what other children in the district read.

“This policy allows parents to restrict what all 18,000 students can read,” she told fellow board members.

Central Bucks School District President Dana Hunter and Vice President Leigh Vlasblom said the new policy was proposed after the board received emails from concerned parents.

“[The policy] It gives parents a way to decide or ask their child not to read a certain title or genre. However, it also outlines a process for parents or anyone else to formally challenge the book,” Hunter said.

Although members in favor of the new policy claimed it was not a ban, board member Karen Smith disputed it.

“When something is removed and it is not allowed to come back, it is a ban,” she said.

Rachel Fitzpatrick, leader PFLAG Bucks . Countyan advocacy group for members of the LGBTQ+ community, immediately summoned the board of directors to target books containing LGBTQ+ stories.

“When we remove the stories of marginalized people, we send a message that their stories and experiences are not acceptable, adding to the stigma,” she said. “Children deserve the opportunity to learn and develop critical thinking skills – no matter where they come from, whether they are transgender or not, whether they are straight or LGBTQ+. Removing resources that enable a child to learn and ask questions removes an important function of education.”

Community member Casey Wheeler noted how vague the language is, saying that “explicitly sexual content” was not clearly defined.

“It should not be the responsibility of one individual to determine the educational suitability of an entire community,” she said.

The Education Law Center He echoed those concerns before the meeting, saying the policy was “vaguely worded and overly broad” and potentially unconstitutional. “This oversight policy is clear and simple,” the organization said.

Joanna Doyle, a member of the Association of Pennsylvania School Librarians, told the room, “Acting is important. All children deserve to see themselves represented…Children should have access to literature that reflects and honors the lives of all young people. Books are an opportunity for them to experience true portrayal of children who are different Their backgrounds, abilities, and circumstances differ from their backgrounds, capabilities, and circumstances.”

“Children are born with compassion, sympathy and care for one another,” Albert told the audience. “that they learn To hate, to bully, to be a racist, to be an anti-Semite, to be a convert-hate.”

The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania tweeted on Tuesday that the policy would be “Stricter book ban policy in the state.

“Pennsylvania has the second highest number of book bans of any state in the country,” Collection He said in June. “[Central Bucks School District’s] The new policy could help the Palestinian Authority become the first in the country to ban books. PA students deserve better.”

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