Wilsona school board gives OK to strict book guidelines

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE11 theater productions to see in Southern California this week, Dec. 27-Jan. 2The new guidelines, which were approved June 22, were developed by a committee consisting of McNabb, board President Sharon Toyne and trustee Patricia Greene. Toyne refused to comment on the changes. The board voted Feb. 16 to remove the 23 books from a list of 68 that had been recommended by a parent-teacher committee for the Vista San Gabriel Elementary School library. The list had been forwarded for board approval. Trustees said one rejected book contained an unsavory hero who was a bad role model for children; another was about a warlock, which they said was inappropriate; and others were books with which they were unfamiliar and didn’t know whether they promoted good character or conflicted with textbooks. Rejected titles included three bilingual Clifford the Big Red Dog books, “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” “Disney’s Christmas Storybook,” and two books from the Artemis Fowl series, whose namesake character was described in reviews as a boy-genius anti-hero and criminal mastermind. LAKE LOS ANGELES – The Wilsona School District board has approved new library book-selection guidelines in the wake of trustees’ controversial decision to remove 23 books including the latest “Harry Potter” from a list recommended for a school library. Books now cannot depict drinking alcohol, smoking, drugs, sex, including “negative sexuality,” implied or explicit nudity, cursing, violent crime or weapons, gambling, foul humor and “dark content.” “In selected instances, an occasional inappropriate word may be deleted with white-out rather than rejecting the entire book,” the policy said. “We realize there might be a story about police, but that’s not violent crime, that’s police doing good,” Superintendent Ned McNabb said. “There’s no way you can take the judgment out of it. You frame it better so it’s easier to know what the guidelines are.” At a March board meeting, trustees indicated that they planned to bring some of the axed books back for approval, such as the Clifford and Disney books. They said these books were not objectionable but were nevertheless lumped in with the rejected books. The board rejection upset some parents and surprised school officials. It was unclear whether Harry Potter books would be allowed under the new guidelines. “In my opinion, that’s one of the tougher judgments. Most would and some might not,” McNabb said. “The general consensus you hear from critics (of the books) is that the later versions, they believe, are much darker in content than earlier versions.” The new policy states that library materials must be age-appropriate, taking into consideration the different maturity levels of district students who range in age from 5 to 14. “For example, most of our elementary students are not dealing with issues of puberty and we do not want to encourage them to try to identify with characters that are,” the policy states. “Middle school materials may have a somewhat broader range of information. However, even at the middle school level, there can be a wide range of maturity. Materials for the middle school level should therefore be selected with appropriate limits in mind. An example: romance stories are out – puppy love is okay.” Revisions included adding the words “socially appropriate” to one criteria. It now states books should have a “Fair balanced socially appropriate portrayal of people with regard to race, creed, color, national origin, sex and disability.” The guidelines also now state that all books must comply with a section of state education law, titled the “Hate Violence Prevention Act,” which states, “Each teacher shall endeavor to impress upon the minds of the pupils the principles of morality, truth, justice, patriotism, and a true comprehension of the rights, duties, and dignity of American citizenship, and the meaning of equality and human dignity, including the promotion of harmonious relations, kindness toward domestic pets and the humane treatment of living creatures, to teach them to avoid idleness, profanity, and falsehood, and to instruct them in manners and morals and the principles of a free government.” The policy also states that “materials must not promote nor discourage any particular religious doctrine.” The policy also now allows for parents to selectively allow books on certain subject areas, such as Halloween, Pokemon or the “Goosebumps” series. [email protected] (661) 267-5744160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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