BEAUFORT COUNTY, S.C. (WSAV) — The controversy over potentially lewd books on Beaufort County Schools library shelves has drawn the attention of more people in the community.
“How can we work on developing critical thinking skills in our students if we focus on removing material from them fostering that. When did it become the public school’s job to teach students what to think rather than how to think it,” a speaker asked.
That was one of about 20 people who stood up to speak at Tuesday’s Beaufort County Board of Education meeting against the decision to pull 97 books from school library shelves. That decision came after Joe Castagnino read several excerpts from the book “Tricks” at the last meeting.
“His arms wrap around me and his hands go straight to my boobs. I try to knock them away but I am no match for his strength,” reads an excerpt from the book.
The New York Times Bestseller about teen prostitution Castignino says was inside the May River High School library, as well as five other middle and high school libraries in the County. The school system then pulled 97 titles from the shelves for review.
After the school board listened to the various complaints at Tuesday’s meeting, the school system explained to everyone how those books will be evaluated.
The 15 different committees will use a form to guide their evaluation of the titles. The form breaks the evaluation into four sections: educational significance; quality, content, matter of presentation, avoidance of pervasive vulgarity, and appropriateness.
The superintendent will appoint the committees. Those committees will each consist of a teacher with expertise in the content area and grade level, a school librarian, a school administrator, a parent representing a school family other than the complainant, a district-level director or coordinator with expertise in the content area, a member of a school improvement council within the district/school. and at least one community member.
Community members can nominate themselves online here. The committee will review each of the titles and then will recommend one of three options for the title: returned to the schools; returned only for certain age groups (high school or middle school); or removed entirely.
If the committee recommends the titles are acceptable, the District must immediately place such materials back into circulation, and the titles can’t be challenged again for five years.