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Ten more committees begin review of books removed from BCSD

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1st 6 committees have returned their books to circulation

By Mike McCombs

Ten more Library Materials Review Committees got started reviewing books Thursday, Dec. 15, to determine if they can be returned to the library shelves in the Beaufort County School District (BCSD) or if they will stay removed.

The books are a part of the 97 books that were removed after being challenged by a group of parents earlier this fall.

These 10 committees will review Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur, The Freedom Writers Diary: How a Teacher and 150 Teens Used Writing to Change Themselves and the World Around Them by Erin Gruwell, Looking for Alaska by John Green, It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover, The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo, Go Ask Alice by Anonymous, Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, Impulse by Ellen Hopkins, Crank by Ellen Hopkins and Glass, also by Ellen Hopkins.

The committees will vote on these books on Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023.

The committees got started a day after Committees No. 5 and No. 6, meeting at Okatie Elementary School, voted to return their books to the shelves.

Committee No. 5 voted unanimously, 6-0, to return The Lovely Bones to the shelves for Grades 6 through 12, while Committee No. 6 voted, unanimously, as well, 4-0, to return Stamped: Racism, Antiracism And You to the shelves for Grades 6 through 12.

Committee No. 6 was split, 2-2, failing to return Stamped to the shelves for Grades K through 5.

“To watch these people engaged in these two committees today, talking, giving pros and cons – they’ve done their homework. They’re making decisions,” BCSD Chief Instructional Services Officer Mary Stratos said. “I personally feel it’s a productive process.”

The first four committees all returned their books to the shelves, as well, in some fashion.

Speak was returned to library circulation by a vote of 4-1. The Perks Of Being A WallflowerThe Kite Runner and The Handmaid’s Tale were returned to circulation unanimously, 6-0, for Grades 9 through 12 only.

At the Tuesday, Dec. 13, Board of Education meeting, BCSD Superintendent Frank Rodriguez said he felt the committees were “functioning as they should.”

“I think the committee members did their job,” he said. “They were thorough about reviewing (the books) and they had their voice in it.”

So far, each committee has been short at least one member when it came time for a final vote on its book. Four have been short one member, one has been short two members and one of the committees Wednesday was short three members.

Given the time committed to the task at hand, BCSD Director of Communications Candace Bruder-Brasseur said it’s not surprising that some members couldn’t complete the process, whether it be reading the book or making it to the final meeting, but that the process would continue to move forward.

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 triggered by the complaints from a group of parents that the books were obscene and inappropriate, though the list of books, submitted by former Beaufort County Councilman and prominent GOP politician Mike Covert, is nearly identical to a list compiled by a political group, Moms For Liberty.

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.

THE REMOVED BOOKS

The list of 97 books removed from Beaufort County School District Library shelves and any action taken by review committees:

1. A Lesson in Vengeance

2. All Boys Aren’t Blue

3. All the Things We Do in the Dark

4. Almost Perfect

5. Ask the Passengers

6. Beautiful

7. Boy Girl Boy

8. Breathless

9. Burned

10. City of Heavenly Fire

11. Clockwork Princess

12. Collateral

13. Confess: A Novel

14. Cool for the Summer

15. Court of Frost and Starlight

16. Court of Mist and Fury

17. Court of Thorns and Roses

18. Court of Wings and Ruin

19. Crank (Under review)

20. Damsel

21. Eleanor and Park

22. Empire of Storms

23. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

24. Fade

25. Fallout

26. Felix Ever After

27. Flamer

28. Forever for a Year

29. Foul is Fair

30. Gabi, A Girl in Pieces

31. Glass (Under review)

32. Go Ask Alice (Under review)

33. Grit

34. grl2grl

35. Grown

36. Half of a Yellow Sun

37. Hopeless

38. I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter

39. I’ll Give You the Sun

40. Identical

41. Impulse (Under review)

42. It Ends With Us (Under review)

43. Kingdom of Ash

44. Last Night at the Telegraph Club

45. Layla

46. Leah on the Offbeat

47. Living Dead Girl

48. Lolita

49. Looking for Alaska (Under review)

50. Lucky

51. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

52. Milk and Honey (Under review)

53. Monday’s Not Coming

54. More Happy Than Not

55. Nineteen Minutes

56. November 9

57. Oryx and Crake

58. Out of Darkness

59. Perfect

60. Push

61. Ramona Blue

62. Red at the Bone

63. Rumble

64. Scars

65. Shine

66. Skin

67. Smoke

68. Sold

69. Speak (Returned to circulation)

70. Stamped (Returned to circulation, Grades 6 through 12)

71. The Art of Racing in the Rain

72. The Black Flamingo

73. The Bluest Eye

74. The Carnival at Bray

75. The Duff

76. The Female of the Species

77. The Fixer

78. The Freedom Writers Diary (Under review)

79. The Handmaid’s Tale (Returned to circulation, Grades 9 through 12)

80. The Haters

81. The Infinite Moment of Us

82. The Kite Runner (Returned to circulation, Grades 9 through 12)

83. The Lovely Bones (Returned to circulation, Grades 6 through 12)

84. The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Returned to circulation, Grades 9 through 12)

85. The Poet X (Under review)

86. The Truth About Alice

87. The Upside of Unrequited

88. The You I’ve Never Known

89. Thirteen Reasons Why (Under review)

90. This One Summer

91. Tilt

92. Tower of Dawn

93. Tricks

94. Water for Elephants

95. Wintergirls

96. Yolk

97. YOLO

Mike McCombs is the Editor of The Island News and can be reached at TheIslandNews@gmail.com.

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