ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – Two books that were challenged by parents at Lindbergh High School for having graphic and vivid descriptions of sexual content remain in the library.
Lindbergh Schools School Board voted 6-1 last week in favor of keeping “The Handmaid’s Tale” in the library and as an Honors English II reading choice, as well as keeping “Gender Queer” in the school library. Treasurer Mike Tsichlis voted against.
The school board’s vote was based on the review committee’s decision to keep the disputed books. Since there were appeals against the decisions of the review committee, the final votes had to go to the school board.
The review committee is made up of two parents, two library media specialists, a teacher, two students at least 18 years old, the high school principal and the district director of inclusion, l equity and diversity.
They are responsible for reading the book and reviewing the text in its entirety, as well as weighing the strengths and weaknesses of the book against district curriculum, student development, and the philosophy of education. in relation to student experiences, according to Director of Studies Tara Sparks.
Sparks reported the committee’s findings for both books.
Since “The Handmaid’s Tale” is an optional classroom reading in Honors English II, there will be a section in the course syllabus noting any concerns parents may have regarding the book.
Tsichlis said he had “a lot of problems” with making “The Handmaid’s Tale” available to library students without restrictions and at the same time putting a warning label in the Honors English II program.
âIt sounds like a contradiction,â he said. “On the one hand, we provide parents with some level of supervision, and on the other hand, you know the book is available to any student, again, anytime.”
It was noted that a parent can go to the school library and inform the librarian that their child is not allowed to borrow a particular book, and it will be listed in the child’s file.
Board secretary Christy Watz said the decision to keep âGender Queerâ was difficult because of the graphics found in the book.
“I really wish the author didn’t do this, but after reading the book, the general premise of it, I could see some students enjoying it because they could be in these shoes,” she declared.
Board member Megan Vedder agreed with Watz.
âNot only is this story valuable to our students, it shows that those students who relate to this book deserve a place in our schools,â she said.
“And I think that’s what’s most important – is that the students who might have difficulty with this subject will find a place in our schools and they deserve it.” They deserve to be seen in their books, so I’m proud of our committee for that.
As Vedder spoke, some people in the audience holding signs protesting his views were escorted by security.
Tsichlis added that the issues with “Gender Queer” are the explicit pictures and was surprised to see that there was no recommendation for a flag to parents on it.
âWe just need to empower parents by providing this flag just to say, ‘Well, there’s content in there that you might not approve of. “And I just didn’t see that come out of this committee,” he said.
Vedder responded that the graphic images should be considered in the context of the book, which provides “healthy conversation.”
âI just want to make sure people understand that there is content and context with the images that is still valuable,â she said.
Fox 2 contacts the school district regarding the status of other books under review, including “Crank,” “The Girl Who Fell from the Sky,” “The Bluest Eye,” “All Boys Aren’t Blue,” and ” This book is gay “.
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