Columbia County Takes No Action on Appeal to Ban “To Kill a Mockingbird”

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A literary classic will live on the shelves of media centers and classrooms in the Columbia County School District after a reading committee decided to do nothing when a parent filed an appeal with the district to remove “To Kill a Mockingbird”.

At Tuesday’s Board of Education business session, Associate Superintendent Michele Sherman said the decision was made after a rigorous process of reviewing the material, which is the first to reach the appeal committee this year.

Sherman revealed the committee’s decision while reviewing the district’s curriculum review process. During her presentation, she sought to dispel rumors circulating on social media that teachers are being asked to review all of their reading material currently in class with a rubric. Sherman said that was not accurate and the rubric was only used once a book went through the appeals process.

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With challenges for reading material in recent months, Sherman said teachers are urged to thoroughly review their material to ensure it’s relevant, age-appropriate and free of vulgarity.

“It’s not a rubric or a checklist for teachers when buying materials, or to limit creativity,” she said. “Teachers are already thinking in these terms when selecting materials.”

Media centers are also responsible for finding the same materials. If one is taken to the appeal committee and needs to be removed, they will be removed from both a teacher’s classroom and the media centre, she said.

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In response to parents’ whistleblowing against reading material during permitted public participation in school board meetings this year, Sherman issued accusations that the reading material is “pornographic” in nature.

“We don’t provide pornography to our students,” she said.

Sherman added that many students read and see things far worse than what is in books on social media apps and other ways on their cellphones. She said if they want to find inappropriate material, they don’t have to consult a book in the school library to find it.

The full school board meets again on March 8.


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