Following a community-wide debate last year over a book at the Auburn High School library, the district school board is set to vote on policy amendments that would give parents more control over the books their children can consult.
At the July 7 meeting of the Auburn Enlarged City School District Board of Education, the board voted to approve the first readings of potential amendments to the “Objection to Instructional Materials” and “Selection of Library and Audiovisual Materials ” of the district. Strategies.
Auburn Superintendent Jeff Pirozzolo told the Citizen last week that the board is expected to vote on whether to approve the amendments at its meeting next month.
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The policy changes include creating a form for parents who don’t want their child to consult certain books, Pirozzolo said. Parents can list the titles they don’t want their student to have access to. These forms will be placed in all student files for the start of the school year and will also be available online.
This change would allow the district to “keep parents involved and listen to their concerns,” Pirozzolo said.
The potential changes were prompted by complaints about the book “All Boys Aren’t Blue: A Memoir-Manifesto,” by journalist and activist George M. Johnson. The book was part of a national conversation about banning books from high school libraries. It chronicles Johnson’s experiences as a queer black person.
AUBURN — The Auburn School Board has heard from parents upset about the presence of a young adult non-fiction book in the li…
Critics of the book argue that it contains material too sexually explicit to be openly accessible to students in a high school library, likening it to child pornography. Proponents of the book’s availability to high school students argue that removing it from age-appropriate libraries would be censorship and that Johnson’s work, including the passages in question and its general context, addresses issues that young people might face.
Concerns from some community members about the book’s availability at the Auburn High School library surfaced during school board meetings in December and mid-January. Several written challenges to the book were then sent to the Auburn District, initiating a process in which a special committee was to review the work and give a recommendation to the school board, which would ultimately decide whether or not the book would remain in the library. The 10-person review committee set up by the district included district officials, staff members, a high school student and more.
In late February, the committee made a recommendation asking the board to review the district’s policy on selecting library materials and make any changes the board deems necessary, but it didn’t say the book should be removed. Amy Mahunik, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction for the district, said at the time that policy changes could include “a system put in place for parents to remove their children from certain books in the library “.
The Auburn School Board voted at a meeting in March to keep the book on library shelves and accepted the review board’s recommendation to consider policy changes.
“There were community members who wanted the book removed from the library, but there were a lot of community members who said, ‘No, we just want to have a say in what our children read,'” Pirozzolo said last week. “And I agree, I think all parents should have a say.”
Regarding any concerns that the potential new amendments could conflict with student rights, Pirozzolo said, “We would cross that bridge when that happens.”
The Auburn School Board is expected to vote on possible policy changes at a meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 9.
Managing Editor Kelly Rocheleau can be reached at (315) 282-2243 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @KellyRocheleau.