Kenosha, WI (WLIP)–The Kenosha Unified School Board approved a policy change when it comes to challenging books in school libraries.
Superintendent Dr. Jeffery Weiss says that the changes are necessary because there are currently 38 books under review and the current process needs to be streamlined.
Dr. Weiss says that under the current policy it could take anywhere from 4-8 years to read and review all 38 books and then have an ad hoc committee meet for a decision.
Weiss says that the new policy will prioritize concerns from parents while avoiding the scheduling headache the current policy entails.
Under the change a complaint about a library book must be made first at the level of the individual school.
The policy change states…“The Board of Education recognizes the rights of parents/guardians and District residents to question the suitability of library materials. Any complaint received by a school staff member shall be reported to the building principal, whether received by telephone, letter, or in personal conversation. The building principal and the library media teacher (LMT) will contact the complainant and attempt to resolve the issue at the building level. Parents/guardians may request that their child not have access to these materials, as they can for any particular library materials of the library collection generally.”
“Challenges will be limited to specific individual material. The parent/guardian or District resident must have read, viewed, or listened to the challenged material in its entirety to submit a challenge at each level. Parents/guardians will have first priority for their submissions to be reviewed.”
If a specific request to remove a book cannot be resolved at the school level it rises to the superintendent’s office.
The Superintendent then appoints a decision maker who may deny the request or send it to a committee for review.
Complaints by parents of students in the district will have priority over those of other members of the public.
If the person making the request appeals the decision on their request the final decision will come from the superintendent.
Supporters of the change hailed it for prioritizing parents’ concerns while following non-discrimination laws when it comes to race, gender, religion, etc.
Detractors say the changes fail to address the underlying problem of books they find objectionable finding their way onto school library shelves in the first place.
The board approved the measure on a 3-2 vote.
Read the new policy below: