Franklin County School Board votes to send survey out to parents over library policy

The policy was adopted back in December, but the school board is still working through some of the details

FRANKLIN COUNTY, Va. – The Franklin County School Board wants some more input on the current library book policy in schools.

On Monday, the school board voted to send out a survey to parents to hear their satisfaction or concerns with the library policy adopted in December. However, parents and community members have shown up for months at school board meetings to express their ideas.

Since the new policy was implemented, Franklin County Public Schools has reported that 16 books have been challenged. Of those, five have been removed and two have been moved to a new YA+ (young adult-plus) section at the high school.

One critical change in the new policy is only a student, parent or school employee or volunteer are now able to challenge a book. No outside individual or group can challenge a book, but Siers said they are still able to voice their concerns.

“A volunteer community-wide committee can work together with assisting media specialists and you in finding out what exactly is on the shelves,” Kathy Meckley said at Monday’s board meeting.

However, parents with kids actually in the school system are concerned this will interfere with parents’ rights.

“There’s a small but loud faction in our community that believes they should be able to tell everyone else what our kids ‘can and can’t read’, what our children ‘can and can’t know’ and even what I children should and shouldn’t be,” Shannon Brooks said.

For the new school policy, a book challenge must first be taken up with the school’s principal. The principal can meet with the person or persons filing the challenge and decide if substituting the book for other instructional material is appropriate.

If the complainant requires further action, the issue goes to a school review committee including the principal, a library media specialist, two classroom teachers, a parent and/or student and the complainant. The committee will then review the material and decide if it should remain, remain with parent permission to check out or be removed entirely.

If the complainant still has concerns, the challenge is then moved to a division appeal committee.

Board members all acknowledged how much hard work their librarians and media specialists do in order to pick out books to be in circulation. Vice-Chair Jeff Worley has been very outspoken over the criticism librarians have gotten.

“They want the same things we all want. They want age-appropriate material for our children. They do not want to groom them and indoctrinate,” Worley said.

About the Author

Connor Dietrich joined the 10 News team in June 2022. Originally from Castle Rock, Colorado, he's ready to step away from the Rockies and step into the Blue Ridge scenery.

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