Complaints filed about two books at Spruce Mountain High School

JAY – The complaint process began regarding two books from the Spruce Mountain High School library after a parent and community member raised concerns.

“I want you to know that we are at the beginning of a challenge regarding two books that are in the high school library,” Superintendent Scott Albert told the Regional School Unit 73 Board of Trustees Thursday evening, the September 8. “We are starting the complaint process.

Director Andrew Sylvester asked if the names of the two books could be shared.

“Queer gender[: A Memoir] and white fragility[: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism]replied Albert.

In August, principals of the Dixfield-based school district voted 7 to 2 to remove “Gender Queer: A Memoir” from the Dirigo High School library. Written and illustrated by Maia Kobabe, the book chronicles Kobabe’s journey from adolescence to adulthood and the author’s exploration of gender identity and sexuality, according to multiple online sources. The controversial book on gender identity and sexuality was published in 2019.

On Tuesday, September 6, the Bonny Eagle School Board voted not to remove the book from the college library.

A Farmington bookstore has partnered with the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance to provide teens, educators and librarians with free copies of the book. “Gender Queer” is the most banned book at the high school level in America, according to Gibson Fay-LeBlanc, executive director of the alliance.

“White Fragility” is an international bestseller written by Robin DeAngelo published in 2018. According to Amazon, she coined the term “white frailty” in 2011 to describe “the way ordinary white people react when pointed out to them that they have done or said something that – unintentionally – caused racial offense or hurt.

In his book, DeAngelo “examines how white fragility develops, how it protects racial inequality, and what can be done to engage more constructively,” according to the Goodreads website.

“In the broader national conversation about race, racism, anti-racism, individual and systemic action and response, White Fragility has been a key headline for readers seeking guidance. DiAngelo denounces the past indifference of white people to criticism of race and class and challenges their often “fragile” response of tears and anger”, an insight into the states of Barnes and Noble.

In 2020, Maine bookstores and libraries saw an increased demand for books about race following the death of George Floyd.

“One person has already met with our librarian to discuss their complaint, the other is making an appointment to do so,” Albert wrote in an email Friday. “In the first case, the complaint has not been resolved, not sure yet for the second. The next step if the complaint is not resolved with the librarian is to meet with the building manager. Complainants have completed the form before going through the first [two] steps even if they should have waited. Despite this, we as a district need to make sure we and they follow the steps.

Amy Ryder is the district librarian and each school has an education technician who helps with the library, Albert noted.

Selection of Teaching Materials and Media Libraries, Code IJJ in RSU Policy Manual 73 was last updated on 13 December 2012. , subject to selection criteria and procedures and Board policy on disputed materials, as described below,” according to the policy.

Among the selection criteria listed under the policy are:

• Take into account the various interests, abilities and levels of maturity of the students served;

• Foster respect and appreciation for cultural diversity and varied opinions;

• Provide full, accurate, and balanced representation of minorities and women in history, science, leadership, and the arts and recognize the contributions of ethnic, religious, and cultural groups to our American heritage;

• Present a balance of opposing sides of controversial issues to enable students to develop a capacity for critical analysis;

• Stimulate the growth of factual knowledge, literary appreciation, aesthetic values ​​and ethical standards;

• Provide an informational context that will enable students to make intelligent decisions in their daily lives.

The Parental Authority section of the policy notes: “A student’s parent/guardian may inspect, upon request, any instructional materials used in the program. It goes on to state, “The Board recognizes that the final authority as to what material a student will be exposed to rests with that student’s parent or guardian.

“However, at no time will the desire of a child’s parents to restrict their reading or viewing of a particular material affect the rights of other parents to allow their children to read or view the same material. Library and media library materials will not be removed from the collection due to criticism, except in accordance with board policy. »

The policy further states that a complaint will first be heard by the person(s) providing the materials and then referred to the building manager to complete a dispute form if the complaint is not resolved. The completed form is sent to the superintendent who then appoints a review committee. This committee reads the materials, weighs the values ​​and flaws, and then forms opinions based on the material as a whole. The committee’s written report is forwarded to the superintendent, who informs the complainant of the results.

While this process is ongoing, the materials cannot be deleted, per policy.

The matter can be appealed to the board of directors who can discuss it at a regular board meeting or call a special meeting to hear evidence from both viewpoints, the policy notes. It further specifies: “The material in question must be:

1. Reviewed objectively and in its entirety;

2. Assessed against the needs and interests of students, the school, the curriculum, and the community;

3. Considered in light of differing opinions; and

4. Revised in light of the initial selection criteria and purpose as outlined herein. »

The Board will announce its decision in writing no later than the end of the next regularly scheduled Board meeting following its receipt of said testimony, the policy concludes.

“I suggest you take a look at the policy,” Albert told the administrators.

” Previous

Next ”

Comments are closed.