A Kansas school district has withdrawn nearly 30 books from circulation in school libraries.
Julie Cannizzo, the assistant superintendent of academic affairs for Goddard Public Schools, emailed principals and librarians with the list of 29 books last week, KMUW reported.
In the email, Cannizzo said the district is convening a committee to “assess the content of the books on the list” and to review the selection process.
“At this time, the district is not in a position to know whether or not the books on this list meet our educational goals,” Cannizzo wrote. “In addition, we need to better understand the processes used to select books for our school libraries.”
She asked that the books on the list not be retrieved “while we are collecting more information.”
The list includes several acclaimed novels, including Margaret Atwood The Handmaid’s Tale and its sequel, Wills, and Toni Morrison The bluest eye.
Others in the list include The hate you give by Angie Thomas, Charlie’s world by Stephen Chbosky, the Pulitzer Prize-winning play Fences by August Wilson and a book examining how the Ku Klux Klan took root in the United States
Cannizzo told KMUW that a parent objected to language he found offensive in The hate you give, a 2017 young adult novel about the aftermath of the police murder of a black teenager.
This relative then submitted a list of books that district officials agreed to stop retrieving and reviewing. “We’re not banning these books or anything like that as a district,” Cannizzo said. “It has just been brought to our attention that a list of books may have content that is not suitable for children.”
Cannizzo said she plans to meet with school librarians this week. A policy adopted by the Goddard School District in 2016 details how complaints about textbooks, library books or teaching materials are handled.
“Contested materials will not be removed from use during the review period,” according to the policy.
Goddard’s takedown of the books comes after a Texas lawmaker launched a bid to investigate books on topics such as race and gender in public schools.
Representative Matt Krause provided school officials with a 16-page list of approximately 850 books covering topics such as race, gender and sexuality, and asked them to provide information on the number of copies what books they own, where the books are and how. much for which they were purchased.