Who is writing school board policies to ban books? Not the school board.
Who is writing the policies for your school system’s libraries and classrooms? The librarians? The elected school board? Professionals who have training in the educational content and value of the books on the shelves?
Would you believe radical religious groups with political agendas?
In the Pennridge School District in Perkasie, Pennsylvania, that’s exactly what happened.
Recently, the school board of Pennridge turned over the duties of deciding what books would be weeded from their school libraries to a religious group, the PA Family Council. PA Family is a religious advocacy political action group that has taken extreme stances on a number of issues in their mission to dictate their perceived moral stance to the people of Pennsylvania.
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To that end, they were invited into secret, closed-door meetings with the Pennridge School District school board to review books in those schools’ libraries. These meetings were not announced to the public for community commentary. The result was the removal of a swath of books from libraries that PA Family Council disagreed with. And it was done under the guise of the school libraries ‘weeding’ their collection.
Weeding is a part of every library’s curation. Books are removed from time to time to make way for new ones- usually, when their content is updated, their physical condition deteriorates, or when it is determined they no longer have educational value or significance. However, when books are removed in secret and under the pressure of an outside organization, not the librarians, this is not weeding.
This is a ban.
PA Family Council has a history of advocating against many cultural issues that are out of step with public opinion and sentiment. Their stance is dictated by their religious beliefs, and that includes pushing the Pennridge School District to remove books they disagree with.
No religious group should be deciding what books should be stripped from shelves in schools. No individual or small organization speaking only for its interests, not the community’s, should be deciding what books you and your children are allowed to read.
Those decisions should be left with the parents.
Religious freedom is a fundamental right in the United States, but so is freedom of speech. Religious groups should NOT be restricting the speech of others, and they should not be making decisions that have always been left up to educated professionals whose primary interest is the educational enrichment of students.