“I want that book removed!”

If you get a request from a parent that a book be removed from the library, the first thing to say in response is: “We have a policy about that.”  You can find the policy at EF Local.  I chose three districts at random and looked at their policies.  I found some similarities and some differences in how they address this issue, but importantly, each of those three districts has a policy, and I’m pretty sure that your district does too. So that is the starting point.

All three of the policies I looked at call for some formal review of the request.  In Beaumont, the principal is required to appoint a “reconsideration committee” to review the material “in its entirety” and make a written report.  Lubbock has a similar requirement, but the members of the committee are appointed by the “curriculum and instruction department.”  Frisco draws a distinction between an instructional resource that is selected for a particular campus vs. those selected for the district as a whole.  For campus-selected resources, the principal makes the original decision. For district-selected resources the superintendent appoints a “reconsideration committee.”

In all three districts, policy says that the challenged instructional resource is not to be restricted while this review process takes place.

Board members should be reminded that they have a policy about this subject, and so they should not be making promises about removing or restricting student access to instructional materials.  Instead, the proper response is “we have a policy about that.”  Of course the board can change the policy if they don’t like it, but board members, just like school employees, are required to comply with the existing policy.  


Got a question or comment for the Dawg?  Let me hear from you at jwalsh@wabsa.com