DEARBORN, Mich. (Michigan News Source) – After several heated Dearborn School Board meetings, public officials from Dearborn have announced that some books will be removed from shelves.
The October school board meeting yielded nearly a thousand protesters both for and against particular books in schools, with some citing that the books were too sexually explicit for school.
“One of the challenged books will remain in the libraries. Two will be removed, and one will be restricted to only the high school level,” the district said. “Two of the books are still being considered, but both were only available through a digital service that is not currently available to students. Another book that was not part of the initial challenge was also reviewed and will be retained.”
Alice Sebold’s “The Lovely Bones” was deemed appropriate for high school and will remain on their shelves. Though Rainbow Rowell’s “Eleanor and Park” was deemed inappropriate for middle school, but shall remain in high schools- copies will be removed from the middle schools. High schools will no longer have “Push” by Sapphire and “Red, White, and Royal Blue” by Casey McQuiston on shelves after it was deemed inappropriate for schools. Students lost the ability to access “All Boys Aren’t Blue” by Jason Reynolds and “This Book is Gay” by Juno Dawson via the schools online access, but are awaiting a decision about whether to remove physical copies from libraries too.
“With roughly half a million books in our school libraries, we realize the likelihood that there could be a few books that were added over the years that parents and staff agree should not be there,” Superintendent Glenn Maleyko said, “However, we want to assure our parents that those books are few and far between and that, overall, our libraries provide a wide range of age-appropriate materials to encourage students to strengthen their academic skills and build a love of reading.”
After the past two school board meetings have drawn so many participants, the board has worked quickly to bring parents more into the fold with these decisions in part by creating a digital form for parents to limit specific book titles their children can access.
“Our school libraries need to support those goals along with the equally important goals of building strong readers and critical thinkers,” School Board President Roxanne McDonald said, “They do this by providing an array of age-appropriate materials that are engaging and relatable to the students we serve.”
Still opponents of the books in question, and similar ones, have read passages at the meetings to illustrate the content that they deem to be sexually explicit and not age appropriate.
“Then my concern would be that if this happened as of 2020 for the last two years, students have had access to information [and] books that are 100% inappropriate, not age appropriate,” A parent at a previous board meeting said, “Even if they are curated for K-12 if you’ve seen the amount of literature coming through that is approved for K-12; I don’t want any of my daughters reading that, not until they’re grown adults.”
Dearborn has faced both scrutiny and support based on their previous decision to remove books from the online database. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) published a letter the first week of November urging schools to stop book banning after Dearborn School District’s decision.