Changes to Challenge Process Proposed in Forsyth County, GA, Schools | Censorship Roundup

A look at some of the latest news in censorship attempts around the country. In this installment, read about what's happening in districts in Kansas, North Carolina, Georgia, and Pennsylvania.

Changes proposed to Forsyth County (GA) Schools' book challenge process

Changes may be coming to the Forsyth County (GA) Schools' book challenge process and media center policies for the 2022-23 school year following a year of complaints about sexually explicit materials, according to the Forsyth County News.

Chief technology and information officer Mike Evans and associate superintendent of teaching and learning Lee Anne Rice presented proposed changes at a March school board meeting. The two said they want to increase parental involvement in how library materials are selected and improve the challenge process. One change would allow books challenged on the basis of sexually explicit material to immediately be reviewed by a committee at the district level, instead of being reviewed on the school level first. Another would make a committee’s recommendation to remove a book apply to all schools in the district, not just at individual schools.

In fight over Gender Queer, resident seeks numbers of LGBTQ students, guidance counselor referrals

A resident from East Bradford, PA, submitted a Right to Know application to the school board of the West Chester Area School District, requesting the number of LGBTQ students in the district, the number of referrals of LGBTQ students to guidance counselors throughout the past 20 years, and the number of times the book Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe had been checked out from district school libraries, according to the Daily Local News.

The resident requested the information in an attempt to gauge whether LGBTQ materials are needed in the school district, claiming that these numbers should inform decision making and possibly justify the removal of Gender Queer. The district spokesperson said the district did not disclose the number of LGBTQ students in the district.

Melissa (George) stays on shelves 

After a three-month review process, Alex Gino’s Melissapreviously published under the title George and in the libraries as suchwill remain in McDeeds Creek Elementary and Union Pines High in North Carolina, according to the Pilot. Three committees comprised of school officials and community members recommended its retention before the board voted.

While initial complaints were brought by a community member, school board member Robert Levy has now vowed to continue to challenge the book until it is removed, citing concerns about the book’s discussion of gender and sexuality.

Sherman Alexie novel removed from KS high school curriculum

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie has been from a list of approved classroom materials for Derby (KS) High School after a committee following a complaint from one student’s grandparent, according to the Salina Post. The novel was removed from the Derby North Middle School library, and the committee recommended adding a mature label to the copies in the Derby High School library.

The novel has been part of the district’s ninth grade curriculum since 2008. In response, a former city council member filed a request for the committee to review the Bible, citing concerns about the slippery slope of censoring books with objectionable material.

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