Salina Public Schools has determined a library book recently challenged, All Boys Aren’t Blue, by George M. Johnson, will remain on the shelf.
According to the district, in keeping with board policy, a building review committee was formed. They read the book and discussed potential strengths and weaknesses of the book as a literary work, along with the merits of retaining the book.
After consideration, the committee determined that the book should remain in the library. In its report, the committee determined that the district’s policy, procedures and philosophy were followed in the selection of this book.
The committee acknowledged that passages in the book describing sexual activity may be uncomfortable to read but do not detract from the value of the book. They noted that themes of the book could be affirming for students to recognize that they are not alone as they experience similar systemic challenges and societal prejudices. The book’s narrative is the perspective of an individual who intended to, “give a voice to so many from marginalized communities whose experiences have not yet been captured between the pages of a book.”
The district’s process to manage any challenges to textbooks and instructional materials is clear*. The first step is an informal process that is a meeting between the concerned individual, the school principal and the library media specialist.
In this instance, the school received a request for reconsideration of the book after that meeting.
In keeping with board policy, a building level review committee was formed to review the book as the first level of appeal. That committee included the principal, the library media specialist, two teachers and two citizens.