Tonight I provided to my colleagues a proposed revision to policy 5-7D, Procedure for Review of Challenged Materials. These policy changes do not directly address the question of the book And Tango Makes Three. They do ensure that in the future the Superintendent cannot act unilaterally or outside of proscribed policy, and that no book will be removed without an opportunity for the public to provide input to its elected representatives.
These revisions implement three major improvements. First, they make binding the decision of the review committees designated by the school principal or the Division Superintendent. Second, they provide for School Board review of any decision to remove instructional material from libraries or the curriculum and require public input prior to removal of materials. Finally, they provide clarity on the status of materials after they have been removed.
The removal of a book without an opportunity for public comment and against the recommendation of instructional professionals and members of the community by the Superintendent who appointed them is made possible by a policy created by an earlier, unelected School Board. The addition of previously restricted materials to a library or the curriculum without review is made possible by a policy created by that School Board. It is the responsibility of this School Board to address these problems.
I make this recommendation after reviewing the policies of school districts around the region and around the country and after consulting with the Virginia School Boards Association and the American Library Association. I hope that my colleagues will approve this policy change and that Dr. Hatrick will submit his recommendation to restrict access to And Tango Makes Three in Sugarland Elementary School to the School Board for review.
The Legislative Policy Committee will review this proposal on Tuesday March 4th at 6pm.
Information on how other Districts approach their challenge policy can be found using the attached links: