Main menu


A committee was formed to consider banning the book from PHS English

The PCSD Board of Education, from left to right: Director Travis Landgrave, Director Kent Bultmann, Director Kenya Alarcon, Director Linda Andorff, Vice President Jim Lutmer, Director Eddie Diaz, and PCSD Superintendent Clark Wicks in the foreground. , met in turn at a special session on September 7. To the Educational Materials Review Board he appoints three “community members”.

The Perry Board of Education announced Wednesday that a newly formed eight-member committee called the Teaching Materials Review Board will review complaints filed against books used in English classes at Perry High School. appointed to the meeting.

PCSD Superintendent Clark Wicks declined to share the title of the book with at a special school board meeting last week. However, board discussions have revealed that the book in question is 444 pages long and will be available for reading before the committee’s meeting, which was tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, September 21.

Coincidentally, such a meeting will take place during the 2022 Banned Book Week, September 18-24. Prohibited Book Week was started in 1982 in response to a surge in book challenges in schools, bookstores and libraries. This year’s theme is “Books Unite Us. Censorship Divides Us.” The annual event has numerous sponsors and is coordinated by the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom.

According to Perry Board of Education policy, the board is responsible for appointing three “community members” to the Materials Review Board. The board selected local plumber JP Hulgan, her retired PHS English teacher Linda Kaufman, and Misty Von Behren, deputy director of the Perry Public Library.

The other five committee members are appointed by the district administrator. Wicks is responsible for appointing her three members. One is a licensed employee, one is a faculty librarian, and one is an administrator. Perry High School Principal Dan Marburger will nominate two PHS students as members.

The district has not released the names of the other five nominees.

At a special meeting of the School Board last week, PCSD School Board President Linda Androff opened the discussion by explaining the circumstances that called for the meeting.

“I think we all know that there was a parent who questioned one of the books, one of the materials used in our high school English classroom, and asked us to reconsider. whether it is suitable for our high school population.”

Androff said the problematic book has been used as part of the second grade English curriculum for several years.

“This is my third year reading this book, and only one family member has stopped reading it,” she said. “Alternative assignments were given, which has been done in the past when her parents requested it. , continued with the rest of the group.”

After discussing the qualifications of committee members, the board proposed nominations and voted for candidates. Eddie Diaz, a member of the school board, said that ideal board members have a “willingness to find common ground” and “make people angry, marginalize people, and quarrel.” No tendency.

Andoff stressed that committee members “need to actually look at the books and determine whether they are appropriate for children to read.” It was said that it would be available to read, but it was not clear if it would be made available to the public or only to members of the committee.

The president also said that all meetings of the Educational Materials Review Board, as well as Board of Education meetings, would be open to the public.

“People need to know these are public meetings,” said Andorf. People who come to observe a meeting are not necessarily allowed to speak, but they are allowed to listen. ”

Efforts to ban books are not uncommon in America. From July 2021 to March 2022, he has posted 1,586 cases (1,145 titles), according to his April report from PEN America, a nonprofit that works to defend freedom of expression. It turns out that books are banned. , representing about 3,000 schools and her more than 2 million students.

The Waukee Community School District of Iowa will announce three titles in October 2021: Jonathan Evison’s “Lawn Boy,” George M. Johnson’s “All Boys Aren’t Blue,” and Maia Kobabe’s “Gender Queer: A Memoir.” Banned. Ankeny Community School District banned the same Kobabe title in November 2021.

State legislatures are also moving to limit education on certain topics. According to his August report for PEN America, 36 states will introduce 137 such bills in his 2022. These proposed “educational gag orders” will increase him 250% in 2022 compared to last year, the report said, mostly targeting education about race, but the number added that it is increasing. It targets LGBTQ+ identities.

Iowa’s law, which went into effect in July, makes certain concepts, such as the idea that America is systemically racist or sexist, out of classroom instruction and mandatory requirements for state and local officials. Prohibited from diversity training.

A Florida law, dubbed a “don’t say gay” bill by critics, bans education about sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergartens through third grade.

Annual Banned Book Week sponsors include American Bookstores for Freedom of Expression, American Library Association, American Association of Journalists and Authors, Amnesty International USA, University Press Association, Authors Guild, Comic Book Legal Advocacy Fund, and individuals. Foundation for Rights and Expression (FIRE), Freedom to Read Foundation, GLAAD, Index on Censorship, National Book Foundation, National Coalition against Censorship, National Council of Teachers of English, PEN America, People For the American Way Foundation, PFLAG , Project Censored.