MATTAPOISETT – Many book titles are available at Old Rochester Regional School District The libraries returned to scrutiny after a complaint was lodged questioning their suitability for formal review. This comes after an initial complaint about the same books was filed in September and later rescinded, but not before sparking a divisive public discourse within the region, with some members of the community defending the choices — many of which deal with issues of sex and gender — and Others protested their inclusion in schools, often citing the sexually explicit content.
As reported in the December 14 ORR School committee At the meeting, the request for review challenges the following titles: “Gender: A Memoir,” “Lawn Boy,” “All Boys Aren’t Blue,” “Out of Darkness,” “The Hate U Give,” “The Absolutely True Diary of a Time-Indian.” Partial”, “Blue Eye”, “Beyond Magenta”, “Flamer” and “Let’s Talk About It”. The titles cited are the same as those given by current ORR high school student Alina Cossolito when interviewed by The Standard-Times about the original complaint made In the fall, with the exception of “Let’s Talk About it”, which was not mentioned at the time. The books mentioned which do not deal with topics related to sex and/or sexuality all deal with issues about race/racism, such as “The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas, about the fictional police fatal shooting of an unarmed black teen.
“With respect to the books in our library, we have a clear policy and procedures that we will continue to follow in relation to the books on the library shelves,” said Michelle Smith, chair of the ORR School Committee while reporting to the committee after outlining the district’s policy formulation process. “As far as parents are concerned about their students having access to books that they deem inappropriate in any way, I am forwarding them to the Building Principal.”
catch up on background:Controversial book conversation rages at the Old Rochester Regional
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Regarding any upcoming public address on the books, Smith said the committee was not planning to hold any future public hearings on the subject, noting that the committee “generally holds public hearings only to adopt its budget as required by the Mass statutes.” Discuss annual enrollment and school selection.
“At this time, there is an urgent need to make sure that we (School Committee members) are all working as a unified team with the Superintendent of Schools,” Smith said, noting that she had asked a representative from the Massachusetts Federation of School Commissions to speak. To the chairmen of the many school committees in the area “on how we can ensure this happens in our communities”.
“Until this is done, I would like to remind members of the community to be respectful and considerate of others. I cannot stress enough the importance of our work. We must move forward not by setting our own agendas, (but by) working together to achieve and succeed.” All students academically, emotionally, socially and physically.”
The committee voted on a draft written message to be delivered to district families regarding books and policies regarding libraries.
Back to back:ORR has been asked to ban several books on issues of gender and race. Here’s what we know.
ORR official: Many unheard feelings
In an unrelated discussion later during the subcommittee’s reporting, ORR School Committee member Joe Peiris, who also sits on the district equality subcommittee, suggested, “Maybe we need to reshape our property rights and make them more inclusive” before sharing comments that were reportedly made. collected from members of the school community during the preceding month and a half. “One of the students who happened to be in the minority felt that racism wasn’t a problem yet. And is it because we’re raising awareness? I don’t know,” said Peiris. Other comments read by Byers included a female student who said “she no longer feels safe in the girls’ bathroom because biological males are allowed to use it”; and one parent who reportedly “feels their white student feels inferior or has made them feel ashamed of being white.”
“This was within the last six or seven weeks and I think everything has to stem from … maybe the book incident, whatever it is, but it opened another can of worms, I think,” Peiris said. “I’d like to see it (the Equity Subcommittee) address all of these matters, and if we can bring it up and talk about it…to work towards a common goal so that everyone is represented and feels like they’re heard.”
ORR responded “I just wanted to mention that I had addressed this committee at the beginning of the year about the racist incidents my son had on the second and third day of school, and a third incident occurred this year, October 25th.” School Committee member and Chair of the Equity Subcommittee Frances Phyllis Kearns, who is a Black woman. “We have a lot of work to do in this district and we need to make sure we protect the most vulnerable students, so I welcome this discussion at the upcoming Equity Subcommittee meeting.”
The next meeting of the Equities Subcommittee is scheduled for Tuesday, January 17, according to the ORR meeting calendar.
What does the ORR policy say?
The following is taken directly from the region’s politics GuideAvailable online in the region website:
When a problem with educational resources arises in a school, the problem will be resolved within a reasonable period of time using procedures approved by the school district.
According to the philosophy statement, no questionable material may be removed from the school pending a final decision. Pending the outcome of a request for reconsideration, however, access to questionable materials may be denied to students of parents who submit a complaint, if they wish.
If the school committee’s decision is to retain the questionable educational resource, the district will not convene a review committee related to the same complaint for three years. If a completely different point of view is presented, it will be investigated. (The three-year period does not apply in this case.)
If an individual or group takes action to keep materials off the shelves by checking them and not returning them, or alternates keeping them in check so that they are not available for student use, the supervisor shall request, in writing, the return of the materials. If it is not returned within thirty (30) days, an invoice for the item’s current replacement cost will be provided to the party retaining the item.
After the school committee approves new materials or approves certain methods, this decision will not be reviewed for a period of three years starting with the end of the academic year when the decision was made.
On another page in the policy guide, under the heading “Reassessment (weeding) of library resourcesIt is stated that: “This action may not be used as a convenient or appropriate means of removing material that is presumed to be controversial or likely to be objectionable by segments of society.” The material may not be censored or removed because of actual or potential objection to partisanship or ideology, nor because of the origin, background, or views of those who contribute to its creation.”