Sumner School Board Rejects County Commission’s Book Ban Request

While the Sumner County Commission issued a resolution calling for two books to be removed from school libraries, the Sumner County School Board voted (7-3) on Tuesday to keep “A Place Inside of Me” in schools.

More on the School Board’s vote from NewsBreak:

The Sumner County School Board last night voted in favor of keeping “A Place Inside of Me” on the bookshelves in the school system’s library. The move comes following a complaint that the book violates a new state law around objectionable content. Seven members (out of 11) voted in favor of keeping the book.

The School Board’s action came just one night after the Sumner County Commission passed a resolution calling for the book to be removed from school libraries.

That resolution said the book contained objectionable content, including “hatred of police, overthrow of the government, destruction of the nuclear family, and communism.”

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Criminal Librarians?

In the battle to privatize Tennessee’s public schools, school librarians have become “collateral damage.” The attacks have become so great that those oft-quiet librarians are standing up and taking notice.

In fact, one Tennessee librarian took to the pages of American Libraries to explain the plight of librarians as it relates to the current “culture war” being won by proponents of evangelical exceptionalism at the Tennessee General Assembly.

Here’s some of what Nashville’s Lindsey Kimery has to say about the attack on the librarians inside our public schools:

We can’t help but see school libraries and school librarians as collateral damage in the wake of midterm elections and extremism against public education. Being a school librarian is an honorable profession, but some have attempted to align it with criminality. We know we are trained professionals, and we work tirelessly to tailor our collections to our students’ needs and the needs of our school communities.

The chilling effect of this legislation will linger as we watch and wait for what’s next; though the bill is dead for the rest of the year, it could resurrect in some form next year. School librarians and administrators may feel pressure to think twice about purchasing materials for our LGBTQIA+ students and for students of the global majority who are minorities in their own communities. Their narratives have been especially targeted by supporters of this legislation. School librarians are concerned about the level of support they will receive from their school district should they face a book challenge. In January, the graphic novel Maus was removed from the curriculum by the McMinn County School Board, and Newbery winner Walk Two Moons was removed from the curriculum in Williamson County. What will be the first book to be removed at the state level?

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What will be the first book to be removed at the state level? That is, indeed, a fair question.

Indeed, another fair question: Will the relentless attacks on our public schools by the like of Gov. Bill Lee and his acolytes pave a clear path to a fully funded school voucher scheme?

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For more on education politics and policy in Tennessee, follow @TNEdReport

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