Harrisonburg School District, Va., Reviews Gay People in School Libraries | UPDATE


This message has been corrected after discussion with the school district (23/11/2021)

According to media reports, Harrisonburg City Public Schools in Harrisonburg, Virginia, may have violated district policy by removing the award-winning graphic novel, Homosexual gender by Maia Kobabe, school libraries without following district procedures. The NCAC has written to the school board to put the book back on the library shelves until the dispute can be properly reviewed and take steps to ensure the challenge is adjudicated impartially and in accordance with district policies. . However, it appears the book is currently not on the shelves as a relative refused to return it to the library. The district has ordered a replacement and will conduct a formal review, as required by its policies.

News reports indicate that Superintendent Michael Richards has admitted to breaching his “obligation to submit disputed documents to a process that ensures a deliberative and balanced outcome.”[.]Richards formed a committee to advise on creating policies that address specific challenges posed by graphic novels, including acquisition policies.

The book review process is meant to be deliberate and thoughtful. To this end, district regulations require that disputed books be evaluated by a committee of educators, read in their entirety, and evaluated according to specified criteria.

Homosexual gender may not appeal to all students. But if every library book is needed to serve every student, the shelves would be bare. A library, including a school library, is supposed to include a wide selection of books that provide value to students. Homosexual gender is clearly of value to many students. He was the recipient of the American Library Association’s Alex Prize in 2020 and was also named Stonewall 2020 – Israel Fishman Non-fiction Award Honor Book. Additionally, it has been described by the School Library Journal as “a great resource for those who identify as non-binary or asexual as well as for those who know someone who identifies this way and would like to understand better.”

Read the full letter to the school district below. Click here for a full screen view:

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