By Mike McCombs
The Island News
Ten more Beaufort County School District (BCSD) book review committees are set to meet Thursday, Feb. 16 at 5:45 p.m. at Okatie Elementary School to decide the fate of books removed this past fall from BCSD classrooms and school libraries.
The 10 books set to be reviewed are a part of a total of 97 books challenged by two Beaufort County citizens – Ivie Szalai and Mike Covert – in the fall of 2022.
The next books under review include:
– Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
– Grown by Tiffany D. Jackson
– I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
– Monday’s Not Coming by Tiffany D. Jackson
– Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult
– Sold by Patricia McCormick
– All the Things We Do In The Dark by Saundra Mitchell
– City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare
– I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sanchez
– Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews
Of the 16 books reviewed by committees so far, all but one – It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover – have been returned to the shelves in some fashion. Each time the committees’ decisions have been appealed by Szalai or Covert, the Board of Education has reaffirmed the committees’ decision.
To recap, 97 books were removed from the shelves of libraries and classrooms in the BCSD in October and are to be reviewed for their appropriateness by the committees. The reviews were initially triggered by the complaints from a group of parents that the books were obscene and inappropriate. The lists resulting in the removal of books were submitted to the district by former Beaufort County Councilman and prominent GOP politician Mike Covert and Ivie Szalai.
The committees must consist, per state guidelines, of a school librarian, a district teacher, a parent (other than the complainant), a school administrator, a district-level administrator, and a member of a School Improvement Council in the district. The BCSD added a seventh member to the committees – a community member.
The committees are then randomly selected by Rodriguez and are tasked, according to the BCSD, “with reading their assigned book in full and then meeting as a group to share and discuss findings. The value of the book is to be examined as a whole, considering the impact of an entire work, transcending individual words, phrases, and incidents.”
The committees meet and complete their reviews utilizing the BCSD Review Committee Checklist and issue a written report of their findings to the appropriate parties, including the Superintendent and the Board of Education.
Any appeals will be heard and decided by the Board of Education.
Mike McCombs is the Editor of The Island News and can be reached at TheIslandNews@gmail.com.