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 Wallflower, The 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
7. Boy Girl Boy
10. City of Heavenly Fire
11. Clockwork Princess
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)
21. Eleanor and Park
22. Empire of Storms
23. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
26. Felix Ever After
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)
36. Half of a Yellow Sun
38. I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter
39. I’ll Give You the Sun
41. Impulse (Under review)
42. It Ends With Us (Under review)
43. Kingdom of Ash
44. Last Night at the Telegraph Club
46. Leah on the Offbeat
47. Living Dead Girl
49. Looking for Alaska (Under review)
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
61. Ramona Blue
62. Red at the Bone
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
92. Tower of Dawn
94. Water for Elephants
Mike McCombs is the Editor of The Island News and can be reached at TheIslandNews@gmail.com.