Beaufort SC School Board votes on six removed books

Three months after removing 97 review books from Beaufort County school libraries for suspected sexual or racial content, the school board voted Tuesday night to put six books back on shelves at some capacity.

In a split vote, a majority of board members agreed with the book review committees to return the six books to schools. Newly elected members Victor Nye and Elizabeth Hay voted against the motion; Rachel Wisniewski abstained from voting.

The vote was 8-2-1 and he needed only a simple majority to pass.

Availability of four books has not changed. “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “Speak” It will remain at all grade levels. “The Lovely Bones” and the youth version of “Stamped: Racism and Antiracism and You” It will only be available for grades 6-12, as before.

The review process removed two books from being available to middle school students. Copies of “The Kite Runner” and “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” have been removed from four middle school libraries and are now available only to 9-12 students.

Both “no” votes, Hi and Nye, appeared on the sponsorship list of the conservative non-profit Mom’s for Liberty during the school board election; Although neither of them said they had asked for their sponsorship. After the election, their names were removed from the list.

“The formation of these committees does not represent parents, families and so on,” Hay said. “I know of a lot of parents that they worry about a lot of the books or just the underlying tone of ‘rape culture’ that is happening or they feel is happening within the school system or the materials offered.”

Superintendent Frank Rodriguez appointed the review committees, which consisted of seven members: a community member, a district level official, a parent, a school principal, a member of the school improvement board within the district/school, a school librarian, and a teacher. District followed best practices For committees, in addition to adding community members.

The books were originally challenged via email by outspoken local Republican politician Mike Covert, who used a list created by parent Ivie Szalai with the addition of Sealed: racism, anti-racism, and you.” Szalai emailed hours later, and the county considers “both original complainants.”

Rodriguez made the decision to pull the books from the library shelves for review on October 21.

Over a month later, review committees read and voted on the titles, only for Covert and Szalai to appeal the decisions. Only the original complainants have this power.

“The citizens of Beaufort County were on the edge of their seats watching tonight. The ugly cries of a few for these books to stay in the public school system are minimal, but because of their sheer audacity against humanity, their stench reaches out,” Secretive said during the public comment section. At the board meeting, after the decision was made. “People, do not be threatened by these individuals, it is our duty as publicly elected officials to do what is right.”

The appeal went to the School Board and now that the decision has been made, it will remain in effect for at least five years after the date of the book’s original challenge. After that, books can be reviewed to remove them from libraries.

More than 20 people spoke about the book review in public comment before decisions were made, including four students who asked the board to vote to keep the books in schools.

The board added Rodriguez’s motion to re-evaluate the model that allows parents to choose not to have their children access books, which was voted 6-5-0. Some board members, including Wisnefski, Hey, and Ney, said they want stricter movement for a rating system for each library book to make it easier for parents to understand what their child will be reading.

“I think it would be better if the supervisor was F [others] I looked at this issue and came back to the board with a solution, maybe the rating system isn’t the best way to handle the opt out form. said Christina Gozdez, chair of the board. “I understand what you’re driving in and I understand that very well, but I think it might be best for the board to let the staff work out a solution to the problem.”

91 titles to go

Material review committees will meet and vote on 10 more books on Thursday:

  • Milk and honey from Ruby Core
  • Diary of a Freedom Writer, by Erin Gruel
  • Searching for Alaska, by John Green
  • It Ends Us by Colin Hoover
  • Impulse, by Ellen Hopkins
  • Glass, by Ellen Hopkins
  • Go ask Alice, by Anonymous
  • Crank, by Ellen Hopkins
  • Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher
  • Poet X, Elizabeth Acevedo

created area section on their website To track the status of 97 books under review. It includes whether each address was reviewed and the decision, as well as the times and locations of scheduled committee meetings.

Profile photo of Marie Dimitrov

Marie Dimitrov is an education and real estate reporter for The Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette. A native of Maryland, she graduated from the University of Maryland with a BA in Journalism and Public Policy. Previously, she spent time reporting in the US Senate for McClatchy’s Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Leave a Comment