Books

school libraries face challenges to at least 21 books | STLPR – St. Louis Public Radio

Summary

A handful of school districts across the St. Louis region are facing formal attempts to remove more than 20 books from public school libraries. It’s part of a growing national effort to try to ban books in schools.

This school year in Texas, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia and Kansas, there have been calls for books to be removed from shelves. In most cases, the books being targeted in the St. Louis region have also been the subject of o…….

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A handful of school districts across the St. Louis region are facing formal attempts to remove more than 20 books from public school libraries. It’s part of a growing national effort to try to ban books in schools.

This school year in Texas, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia and Kansas, there have been calls for books to be removed from shelves. In most cases, the books being targeted in the St. Louis region have also been the subject of other challenges across the country.

At least four school districts are facing formal book challenges this school year: Wentzville, Rockwood, Lindbergh and Francis Howell. It’s part of a national trend that has resulted in a 60% increase in attempts to remove books compared to this time last year, according to the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom. In the St. Louis region, the challenges are being organized by parents in private Facebook groups and encouraged by the Missouri chapter of a national organization called No Left Turn in Education.

At the Rockwood School District’s October School Board meeting, multiple parents used the time for public comment to read passages of books that they said were examples of pornography in school libraries.

“These books are loaded with graphic descriptions of sex acts,” said Janet Diedrick, parent of a student in the district. “Why are these books here?”

In the Rockwood district, like many across St. Louis, a committee is formed to read the books facing formal challenges and to decide whether they should stay on shelves.

The school district is facing formal challenges to remove both “Gender Queer” by Maia Kobabe and “Where I End And You Begin” by Preston Norton.

“The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas was challenged in Rockwood earlier this year, but the committee voted to keep the book in the library. In its report, the committee wrote: “Yes, there is inappropriate language, however, it is an exceptional book. It should be available for those that want it in the library.” The district’s board of education voted to accept the committee’s recommendation.

“There is good in getting together and having these conversations,” said Dr. Shelley Willott, Rockwood’s assistant superintendent of learning and support services. “Sometimes it’s really tough, and sometimes they’re very emotional because people do have very personal perspectives that they share. But that is the power of the committee is that all those things come out.”

Parents have also spoken out against books at school board meetings in Kirkwood, Lindbergh and Francis Howell.

Missouri parents are identifying passages and books they would like to challenge in private Facebook groups, said Andy Wells, president of the Missouri chapter of No Left Turn in Education.

“There’s parents organizations in a lot of these school districts across the state, and they were individually trying to challenge these books …….

Source: https://news.stlpublicradio.org/education/2021-11-18/schools-across-st-louis-face-more-attempts-to-remove-books-from-library-shelves