Review committee votes against removing book from school libraries
A reconsideration review committee voted 7-4 Thursday night against removing a book from middle and high school libraries.
Parents Ben and Kandi Lovin had requested the district remove Gayle Foreman's Just One Day from the libraries on the grounds it had material that was inappropraite for that audience. They raised the concerns after their 11-year-old daughter brought the book home from her school library. The rejected an offer to have the book restricted from just their daughter.
"She can check out that book and have it in her hands all day before she talks to me, which is what happened," Kandi Lovin said. "You do have to watch what materials are out there. They're not all educational in the way we thought they were."
The book is about a recent high school graduate who travels Europe and has a brief affair with another traveler, as well as the path her life takes after that meeting. The Lovins pointed specifically to passages that contain sex, nudity, drinking by the 18-year-old main character and foul language. They say those violate the district's policy for selecting instructional materials.
But secondary media specialist Dawn Lyons, who spoke in defense of the book, said it's not fair to consider those scenes in isolation from the rest of what she called a coming of age story. She pointed out that Just One Day was the 2014 winner of the Young Adult Library Services Association's award for best fiction for young adults and has been recommended for readers 14 and up.
"Media specialists must consider the students and staff population we are serving," Lyons said. "Our collection must include material for the most mature students as well as the younger students."
Lyons said teens can see themselves in a work like Just One Day and might recognize someone dealing with some of the same issues they face in their life.
Rosemount High School senior Kennedy Rieck, a member of the reconsideration committee, supported that thought. She said she didn't focus on the sex and drugs when she read the book but focused on the experiences the main character had.
"I see it as a learning experience," she said. "I look it as finding yourself and seeing yourself in a different way."
Commitee member Michelle Howe, a media specialist in the district, said she would let her eighth-grade daughter read the book.
About 23 people sat in the audience at the hearing Thursday, but audience members were not allowed to take part in the discussion.
Following roughly an hour of discussion, committee members chose among three options: Keeping the book, removing it from middle school libraries or removing it from both middle and high schools. There were no votes to remove the book from high schools.
There will be a full story in next week's print edition of the Independent Town Pages.