As concerns continue over the review of 93 books in Berkeley County School District libraries, a second committee meeting reviewed a second set of 10 books on Oct. 26.
With two committee meetings down and 20 books reviewed so far, the fate of those books are now with the superintendent.
“The results of the deliberations will be reported to the superintendent, who will make a decision,” BCSD chief communications officer Katie Tanner explained.
The initiative of book reviews and committee formations stem from one concerned parent, Angelina Davenport, who questioned the appropriateness of certain themes in school libraries.
“We keep saying we have the freedom to choose, and we have to be diverse,” Davenport said during the second committee meeting. “We have to be inclusive. We have to make sure there’s something for everyone to read, which I agree, but why does it have to be obscene and sexually graphic?”
During the committee’s second meeting, 10 books were reviewed over a period of four hours. Out of those, the committee recommended that five novels remain in the high school libraries: “A Court of Thorns and Roses” by Sarah J. Maas, “Burned” by Ellen Hopkins, “The Art of Racing in the Rain” by Garth Stein, “More Happy Than
Not” by Adam Silvera, and “The Truth About Alice” by Jennifer Mathieu.
Committee members, along with librarians, acknowledged the presence of mature themes in some books, but noted that students had expressed a connection with these materials, particularly citing “The Truth About Alice.”
“It is a young adult novel that explores themes of bullying, internal conflict, teen dating and truth versus rumor,” said one committee member. “When reading this novel, I couldn’t help but think that so many of our students are experiencing these issues in their own lives.”
However, a majority consensus could not be reached on the other five books. The remaining five include: “House of Earth and Blood” and “House of Sky and Breath” by Sarah J. Maas, and “Milk and Honey,” “Home Body,” and “The Sun and Her Flowers,” all by Rupi Kaur.
The district plans to continue their review process, addressing the remaining 70 books in groups of 10. The final recommendations from the committee will be submitted to Superintendent Dr. Anthony Dixon for further consideration.
The formation of these review committees follows the guidelines outlined in the district’s policy, known as KNBA-R.
According to the policy, the chief academic officer is mandated to appoint a committee to evaluate challenged materials. The committee consists of the discipline area coordinator, two certified school-based personnel from the relevant school level and subject or program area, and five parents from the school represented in the
These committee sessions are open to the public, accessible via Zoom through the BCSD website.
School board members are not part of these committees, in accordance with board policy.
Following the first book review committee that met Oct. 3, the recommendations were as follows:
“Beloved” by Toni Morrison, “Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West” by Gregory Maguire, and “Eleanor and Park” by Rainbow Rowell to be retained in circulation for students in grades 9-12.
“Clockwork Princess” by Cassandra Clare to remain available for students in grades 6-12.
“Looking for Alaska” by John Green, “Queen of the Shadows” by Sarah J. Maas, “Sold” by Patricia McCormick, and “Unravel Me” by Tahereh Mafi to be kept in circulation for all grade levels.
“Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” by Jesse Andrews and “Push” by Sapphire to be forwarded to the superintendent for a final decision.
The next group of 10 books will be reviewed on Nov. 16 at 8:30 a.m.
A virtual observation link will be made available on the BCSD website together with future committee meetings and which set of 10 books will be reviewed next.
To view the remaining list of material, visit bcsdschools.net/o/bcsd/page/reconsideration-of-instructional-material-information.