MONCKS CORNER, S.C. (WCBD) – A committee at the Berkeley County School District met Monday night to discuss two board policies regarding school material.
“This committee has been tasked with helping to create standards and a process to review books before they are introduced into our libraries and our classrooms,” said BCSD Deputy Superintendent Dr. Karen Whitley at the start of the Zoom meeting.
Two policies were discussed — IFAA: Textbook Selection and Adoption and IFBDAA: Selection of Materials for School Library Media Centers.
The committee recommended amendments to both policies. One example is to change IFAA to expand parents’ access to their child’s textbooks. Another proposal was to amend IFBDAA to include possible legal ramifications for educators who don’t follow the policy.
“Those items to be recommended as guidelines to send to the school board will be sent as apart of our work in this committee,” said Dr. Kylon Jerome Middleton, BCSD’s Chief Officer of Inclusive Excellence and Student Support.
The committee meeting came almost exactly a year after its inception. Last November, the Berkeley County School Board passed a resolution to “to establish a committee to evaluate appropriate guidelines for the evaluation of materials of inappropriate sexual/pornographic content in the Berkeley County School District.”
That happened during the same meeting the board abruptly voted to fire the superintendent at the time.
“A 6-3 majority took power on the school board in November of last year. This majority was endorsed by Moms for Liberty who, among other things, stand for the censorship of books,” explained Paul Bowers, the Communications Director for the American Civil Liberties Union of South Carolina.
District officials said the committee that met on Monday is separate from the committees that have been in the process of reviewing 93 books challenged by a parent over the past few months.
Carrie Kelly, a BCSD parent who participated in the book review last week, had concern about the timing of Monday’s meeting.
“It feels kind of like sneaky that it’s the day before the Charleston mayor election and right before the Thanksgiving holidays like why now? Without any notice at all. I made it very clear I wanted to be a part of this process and I feel like the role I played in this process has been taken away from me now,” Kelly told News 2.
The committee’s recommended amendments will go to the board for approval.