BERKELEY COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) — A committee for the Berkeley County School District will continue its review on Thursday and provide recommendations on whether multiple books should be banned from the district.
This comes after a parent challenged 93 books based on objections to age-inappropriate sexual content and obscene language. The school district recently released a list of materials that could be removed from some or all schools.
The upcoming public meeting will review 10 of the 93 books being challenged; this is one of many meetings that will take time to review each book to decide if the title will stay on the shelves.
Those titles include:
- A Court of Thorns and Roses – Sarah J. Maas
- Burned – Ellen Hopkins
- Home Body – Rupi Kaur
- House of Earth and Blood – Sarah J. Maas
- House of Sky and Breath – Sarah J. Maas
- Milk and Honey – Rupi Kaur
- More Happy Than Not – Adam Silvera
- The Art of Racing In The Rain – Garth Stein
- The Sun and her Flowers – Rupi Kaur
- The Truth About Alice – Jennifer Mathieu
The first meeting was held at the beginning of the month, and 10 other books were reviewed at that time. Committee members voted on recommendations of whether or not to ban titles, and after they are all reviewed, the superintendent will make the final decision.
According to the district’s policy, these 93 titles will not be removed during this reconsideration process.
News 2 spoke to Paul Bowers, the communications director for the American Civil Liberties Union about the matter. The group opposes book bans, and Bowers said the process of reviewing these 93 titles takes a lot of time from school staff.
“They don’t need a mountain of extra paperwork and busy work but that’s what they’re being given,” he said. “So, we know that if you add up the length of these 93 books, we’re talking about more than 37,000 pages of material to review. On top of that these are books that were already reviewed by librarians.”
The book reviewing process has led to some controversy and concern in the community. At the state level, according to the state register, education leaders are also bringing forward a regulation that will address issues like this regarding school and classroom library materials.
At the South Carolina Board of Education meeting on Nov. 14, the board will consider a regulation that would align the material in school classrooms and libraries with that of South Carolina’s instructional program and state standards. Ultimately, this would give the state more control over material in schools.
State education leaders said the regulation is still in the drafting period. However, at the board’s October meeting, State Superintendent Ellen Weaver explained her stance on the state’s involvement.
“I certainly am a proponent of local control, but I also know that half of our state education budget comes from the state, and with that investment comes responsibility — so there is state responsibility as well as local responsibility for these materials,” Weaver said during the meeting.
State Board of Education leaders said if the measure moves forward after all of the required readings, it would then need to go to the South Carolina House and Senate.
“It is well within the purview and the responsibilities under state law of this board to advise on the age appropriateness and the alignment with the South Carolina instructional standards,” Weaver continued. “So, that’s what we are going to be bringing before this board.”
As for Berkeley County School District’s review committee meeting, it will be held virtually on Thursday starting at 8:30 a.m. A link to view the meeting will be made available to the public.