After Review, 11 Books Remain in Bedford County High School Libraries

Books will remain in Bedford County Public School high school libraries after concern expressed in November public comment. Committees determined that one of the 12 books, Two Boys Kissing, was not in school libraries. Parents can ask school librarians to keep their children from checking out the books.

“In December, the committee reviewed one book, Beloved. That was the first book that was challenged, and so we looked at that book, and the decision of the committee at that time was to keep the book in all of our libraries and continue to use it for AP coursework at the high school level. The committee felt it had instructional value, and was on the list of AP-recommended books for the course,” Chief Learning Officer Dr. Karen Woodford told the school board at its March 10 meeting.

In January and February, the committees reviewed The Bluest Eye, Kite Runner, Glass Castle, Murder Trending, Freak Boy, All Boys Aren’t Blue, Love Drugged, What My Mother Doesn’t Know, Beautiful Music for Ugly Children, and Rick. The committees included school principals, a library media specialist, and teachers.

“I would like to remind everyone that most of these books are available in the library for enjoyment reading, and again, not always used for instruction in the classroom. If parents have concerns about books once they see a class syllabus for specific classroom instructional materials, they would work directly with the classroom teacher as described in our policy IIA to find an alternative text for their child,” Woodford said.

“Should any parent or guardian wish for their child not to read these books or check them out from the library, then our librarians wanted you to know that they will honor that choice and not allow students to check out that book,” she said.

Board member Marcus Hill suggested that there could be a conflict of interest in having the committee composed of people who in some cases selected the books to begin with.

“I have a problem with the committee being the ones who chose the books who decided to use the books,” he said.

Hill wants certain books to be kept behind the counter, but Woodford warned that could violate discrimination laws.

Hill said, “It sounds like it’s okay to discriminate against my child but we can’t discriminate against someone else’s child to meet my expectations of what I want from my child.”

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Eric Burk is a reporter at The Virginia Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected].



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