The school board at my school district wants each teacher in the building who owns books to read and check each one of them for violence, lanugage, sexual intensity, etc. and whatever they deem as "inappropriate" will be taken out of the class libraries. A group of students and I feel very strongly about this and do not approve.
As of now, we're planning on going to the next board meeting and firmly, but calmly, stating our postition on this and try to persuade them to put to an end to this, or at least come to a compromise.
I'll tell you right now that we're angry. We're angry because they think that we can't handle reading young adult literature, most of which contains real world issues that people go through everyday. We're angry that they're trying to blind us and prevent us from learning about it. We're angry that they think they can handicap our education. They can't tell us to act like adults and go off doing this like we're still a bunch of middle schoolers. We refuse to be idle.
We ask of you with all our hearts to, please, sign this petition. We want to show them how passionate we are about reading and how we have a whole army of people who agree with our cause. We need to show them that young adult literature is a life-changing thing for young people to be exposed to.
We won't stop until every book on every shelf of our school is saved.
Before I begin, I'd like to thank each and every one of you for standing by our side and sending us words of encouragement. It's a real morale booster.
So, about the school board meeting-- we didn't go, but I'll tell you why.
About two weeks before the school board meeting, our principal called me and a few other kids involved in the operation into a meeting right before school. She assured us that we weren't in trouble and said that all she wanted to do was clear up any misconceptions about the book situation. She told us that she, nor the school board, wouldn't want to take the privilege of reading away from the students and that this was only an "inventory". Granted that little to no funding goes into the individual class libraries, they have no idea what books are being distributed. She also brought up the point that having an inventory would be an efficient way of separating the teachers' books from books that the school provided for them. Understandable, right? She even said that if more time to complete the inventory was needed, the deadline would be extended. With that being said, we decided to not attend the meeting since there appeared to be no problems.
As of late, MANY reading and English teachers in the district have been packing away their classroom libraries due to the inability to complete the inventory. My English teacher, who has well over a few hundred books, had a really difficult time trying to finish the inventory. She sent out an e-mail to the people in charge with a plethora of questions about the inventory-- with questions like, "May the students help?" "Can the deadline be extended?" "May I hand in my paperwork as I go?"-- things along those lines. No reply. She tried sending multiple e-mails, but heard nothing. Fearing that she might be chastised for not completing the inventory, she opted for putting her books away. Also, the deadline was never extended as promised.
In doing this, they're not physically confiscating the books, but they are cornering the teachers, giving them impossible tasks, and forcing them to take this course of action.
Another thing that seemed incredibly fishy was when my friends and I took a look at the actual paperwork for the inventory. There was a column for the name of the book, the author, and the different kinds of "inappropriate themes" that may be found in these books. But you know what we didn't see? A column for the quantity of the books (individual and overall), and a column that identifies who the books belong to. Funny, right?
And there's one question that still remains unanswered-- what will happen to the books? If a book manages to scrounge up a certain amount of check marks, what's going to happen to it? They can't pull together a meeting and discuss whether or not the book is school appropriate because they already granted that right to the teachers. Oh, and if you didn't know, this is called red-flagging-- a form of censorship.
Our principal told us, as the superintendent told the public, that no books were going to leave the shelves, yet dozens of classroom libraries are disappearing out of thin air. And what are they doing to stop this happening? Nothing.
And to make matters worse, my English teacher is being pulled into a meeting on Friday where she needs her union representative to be present. Being a 14-year-old freshman, I don't know much about the union or what goes on at the meetings that my teachers go to, but I've been told that if you need a union representative to be with you to go to a meeting, that's not a good sign.
So, ladies and gentlemen, now you know what's going on, I have a favor to ask of you: spread the word.
Like a wild fire. Like a fitted sheet on a mattress. Like butter on toast.
We're in a REAL sticky situation right now. With two major classroom libraries already gone, it's going to take some serious team effort to get them back. By spreading the word, hopefully, people who can help us will give us all the back-up we need. Also, people need to be made aware of the contrast between what we were told and what we found out. We're not accusing anyone of lying, but we know for a FACT that we weren't told the whole truth.
So, if you still care, do everything in your power to build hype about this happening. That means sending this petition to people who you think didn't sign yet and using every, and I mean EVERY, means of social media possible to get our story out. Seriously. Anything helps. And if you know of an organization or author who would be glad to support us or even a news station, reporter, radio show host, or whatever that can give us a signal boost, tell them about it too.
They can't just take books from right under our noses and think we're too cowardly and incompetent to take action. Right now, my friends and I are in the planning process of how were going to solve this, and once we finalize everything, we WON'T be backing down.
They messed with the wrong ones.