STILLWATER, Oklahoma (KOKH) — We are only one day away from the new school year, and some parents in Stillwater are already outraged. They let the board know what they think of certain books in the district libraries.
Some parents say their children have access to explicit books about sexuality, race and gender. This makes some of them worried about the impact this content might have on their child’s development.
“You are probably aware that Tulsa Public Schools and Mustang Schools are having accreditation issues via Bill 1775,” said a concerned parent. “Stillwater is going to have the same problem if you don’t clean it up. I’m going to find him, and I have connections that I made over the past two years fighting Stillwater. I will put this to good use.
Stillwater Public Schools (SPS) says a library media specialist decides which books are on display.
“They largely include award winners,” the district said in part. “Most of the texts are highly recommended by professional library organizations.”
But that doesn’t change how much some people are bothered by some of the content available in school libraries.
“I could go into high school right now and choose books written by straight men that describe sex,” another parent said. “He would have, can I say a penis?” There are no children here, are there? There are books that have giant penises in the pages. Graphic novels. None of these people cared before now.
Parents who do not want their children to have access to specific types of books are encouraged to speak to their school, and the school will make every effort to honor this request.
“In every situation, we take parents’ concerns seriously,” the district said in part. “We hope to partner with them to find a suitable solution for their child.”
Karen Flack, who lives in the area, also shared her disapproval at the meeting.
“I just think there’s no need for that in our libraries,” Flack said. “It’s just not appropriate. To me, it’s like you have a porn section, video porn, for kids. I wish [the board] learn more about it and how these books are entering the school system.
Parents can also submit a form asking the district to review the material.
“This shouldn’t take shape,” one man said. “If I email a man who is in charge of our children’s innocence and the response is ‘fill out a form’, I would consider that a felony.”
But, SPS says they haven’t received any requests lately.
“This process allows us to evaluate texts of concern to determine if they have a place in our libraries,” the district said. “This may or may not result in text being removed, depending on the results of this assessment. Whenever a parent or guardian finds content objectionable, we welcome their conversations with our educators. »
If a parent doesn’t want their child to read a certain book in class, the district says a teacher can give them something else to read instead.
“We believe that ultimately, conversations around literature enlighten us all to different perspectives and a deeper understanding of each other,” SPS said.
“Stillwater Public Schools, like most districts, has a process by which parents can request material be reviewed. District procedures for document review are included at the end of this statement. The district has not received such requests recently.
Our library books are selected by our professional library media specialists. They largely include laureates and most of the texts are highly recommended by professional library organizations.
In each situation, we take parents’ concerns seriously and hope to work with them to find a solution that is right for their child. If a child is assigned a book that parents object to for a grade, we ask that they start at that level; alternative texts may be offered to students by their teacher. If there is a book they do not want their child to have access to, we ask that they have a conversation with their school so that their wishes for access to their child’s library can be honored.
If parents discover a text that they believe does not belong to the library, we ask them to initiate a formal request for the district to review the material in question. This process allows us to evaluate texts of concern to determine if they have a place in our libraries, which may or may not result in the removal of a text, depending on the results of this evaluation.
Whenever a parent or guardian finds content objectionable, we welcome their conversations with our educators. We believe that ultimately, conversations around literature enlighten us all to different perspectives and a deeper understanding of each other.
SPS procedures for material review
“A student or the student’s parent shall have the right to refuse the use of library media center material that appears inconsistent with the student’s values or beliefs. Class assignments involving materials from the library’s media center will provide alternate choices, where possible. This procedure is in line with the National Council of Teachers of English Statement on Students’ Right to Read, which is endorsed in full. However, no parent has the right to determine the reading material for students other than their own children. Books and other materials should not be removed or banned solely because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.
The examination of the documents in question will be treated objectively, without emotion and as an important routine action. Every effort will be made to consider objections, keeping in mind the best interests of the students, the school, the program and the community. Since differences of opinion exist in our society, the following procedure should be observed to recognize these differences in an unbiased and factual manner.
1. All requests for reconsideration must be made in writing to the building manager, using the Request for Reconsideration form (see EFA-E1) adapted from the American Library Association. A copy of this request will be forwarded to the school librarian. This form should be dropped off at the building manager’s office. Only parents, guardians and site employees of a specific school can request a reconsideration.
2. The material in question will remain in circulation until it is read and discussed by a committee of the library, which will be convened by the director and the media specialist, who will not be members of this committee. This committee is made up of a member of the school faculty, a member of the superintendent’s staff, a district school principal, a parent, a media specialist from the library of the district and a member of the school board.
3. The committee will review the material in question and all available critical appraisals. General acceptance of material should be verified by consulting authoritative listings in light of school district selection policies. A thorough examination of the disputed documents must be treated objectively. Passages should not be taken out of context and the material should be assessed in its entirety.
4. The principal, media specialist and faculty implement the committee’s final decision.
5. The complainant receives a copy of the assessment report and the decision.
6. In the event that the complainant does not agree with the decision of the review committee, they may appeal to the Stillwater Board of Education through the principal within a period not exceeding 90 days from the date the complainant received the assessment report and decision. The final decision then rests with the council. The complainant will be notified by mail of the council’s decision.
7. Once a complaint has been filed, reviewed and substantiated by the Review Committee and Council, if another complaint is raised against the article within the next five years, the complaint may be dismissed without a hearing.