More censorship on the horizon, but it’s rooted in politics
a A new policy at the district level for the selection of library books It was officially announced on Tuesday, April 10th.
The policy will allow the school board to determine which books are placed in all area libraries and allow the board to remove books already in libraries.
If a book is removed from the library, it will not be revisited for at least 10 years.
The policy states that “Selection of materials is an ongoing process that includes the removal of collections that the board of directors, the county-level library superintendent, or designee of the superintendent deem no longer appropriate and the periodic replacement or repair of materials still of educational value.”
Much of the policy focuses on describing material that is considered “inappropriate.” For middle and high schools, this means “explicit written descriptions of sexual acts.” For elementary schools, “express or implied written descriptions of sexual acts.”
Maura McInerney, legal director of the Education Law Center, said the policy violates the First Amendment right to free speech. She said the English Language Center is reviewing the policy and informing parents of their rights.
“While some restrictions are constitutionally permitted, this is not what happens when students are told they cannot borrow books from school because they have not been ‘approved’,” McInerney said.
Pennsylvania schools have banned books on more than 450 occasions in the past nine months, According to a new report From PEN America. This is the second highest total in the United States after Texas.
“What we’re seeing in Pennsylvania is a purge,” McInerney said.
Kate Nazimy is the father of two students in the area and has been an outspoken opponent of the new policy for months.
“The goal is LGBTQ [literature] “Because in a lot of the youth literature about that, it’s about relationships and identity,” Nizami said. “And you have to talk about body parts and people who are in romantic relationships if you are going to talk about this experience. So it is a surefire way to get rid of all those books.”
The central parents were pax Read excerpts from books they want to remove from libraries since March. All books are listed on the WokePa website, and many are written by Black and LGBTQ authors, including “The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison.
District teachers, librarians and parents appeared at a school board meeting on Wednesday before their policy committee to voice their opposition to the bill.
Catherine Simish, a retired English teacher from Central Bucks West High School, said the proposed policy puts a “throttle” on new books, in part because it requires the school board to read all books before they are approved.
“The proposed policy would prefer the deletion of content, rather than the inclusion of content,” Simic said.
“Is it the school’s job to modify the world, to prevent children from learning the truth?”
Books such as “One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” “Romeo and Juliet,” and portions of the Bible, are included as works that would not be eligible for libraries under this policy.
Many are concerned about the lack of transparency from the board of directors.
Chris Keehan is a Warwick Elementary School librarian.
“When was this formulated? Who formulated it? Whose input was used? It was clearly cut and pasted from something else,” Warwick said.
The Bucks County Beacon recently reported that the policy was mostly a copy of Policy by the Texas Education Association.
Laura Ward, President Association of Pennsylvania School LibrariansShe said she had never seen such a policy before in Pennsylvania.
“It’s heartbreaking,” she said, especially for weak students.
“If we remove the things that reflect them, we tell them we don’t appreciate them, we don’t see them, we don’t want to hear them,” Ward said.
She said this policy violates the policy of the American Library Association “freedom to read” Principles, based on the US Constitution.
Due to widespread moves toward censorship in Pennsylvania, the PSLA recently formed an Intellectual Freedom Task Force, to support any librarian facing censorship threats.