Salina parents express concern over book, ask for removal from school libraries

Published: Feb. 8, 2022 at 11:18 PM CST
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SALINA, Kan. (KWCH) - An issue that’s been a topic of discussion nationwide popped up in Kansas Tuesday night with some parents asking the Salina school board to remove a certain book from school libraries.

The book in question is a novel called “All Boys Aren’t Blue,” described as “a young adult non-fiction ‘memoir-manifesto’ by non-binary author George M. Johnson, published in April 2020. The book has already been taking off school shelves in some states.

“I kind of have read some excerpts and read about the author as well,” said USD 305 board member Bonnie Schamberger. “I just didn’t know if it was bordering on promoting obscenities to minors.”

Executive director of educational programs for the Salina school district, Shanna Rector, said that’s what a committee will look into. That committee will be made up of a principal, a librarian, teachers and parents.

The district already has a policy in place for situations like this. That starts with the committee meeting with the people who filed complaints.

“The material is reviewed and discussed [at an] informal level and the building principal will then make a determination about the challenged materials and notify the complainant of the decision,” Rector explained. “Usually this is where we get resolution, and we don’t usually see this process go beyond the conversation.”

The district said challenges of academic materials are rare and the school board decided it should let the current process play out. But some people at Tuesday’s school board meeting felt like their voices weren’t being heard. Because so many people signed up to speak at the meeting, they were only allowed 60 seconds during public comment, and they couldn’t use that time to discuss items that were already on the agenda.

But that didn’t stop some of them.

“This is porn. And it’s right in our library,” one woman emphatically stated. “I was going to read it to you, and I am so embarrassed, I can’t even do that. And you as men need to read this book and you as women and parents, you as a parent need to take this and read it and get it out of our library.”

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