CHARLOTTE (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — A Charlotte Mecklenburg Media Advisory Committee has voted to remove a book from the district’s library while retaining two other titles.
The committee is made up of parents, staff, media specialists, and teachers who decided A Court of Frost and Starlight was too mature for the high school library and lacked educational value.
Bookshelves are becoming a battlefield in Charlotte Mecklenburg schools.
Just this year, there have been 10 challenges to books in media centers compared to eight challenges in the last four years.
“I think that what we’ve always wanted in education is for parents to take an active role and be involved and knowledgeable about what their children are reading and learning in school. I think that as things grow and evolve in society, book challenges are probably not an unexpected progression of that level of involvement,” said Nancy Brightwell, CMS chief academic officer.
In the meeting Tuesday morning, the media advisory committee laid out the case for three of the books on the chopping block outlining the merits and concerns of each work.
“We spend a lot of time researching and preparing,” Erin Shoemaker, executive director of Learning and Teaching at CMS said. “None of these are easy decisions and we really take it seriously and want to do the best thing for our students and our families in our community.”
Brooke Weiss, chair of Moms for Liberty Mecklenburg has challenged 9 of 10 books.
“Moms for Liberty has over 300 chapters in 48 states now,” Weiss said. “So we all kind of work together and when we identify books, we have resources that have been built, not just to identify books, but to help us understand the books and what the concerns are in the books.”
Weiss plans to appeal the decision on “Jack of Hearts and Other Parts.” She is concerned with its sexual themes and graphic details.
“I’m identifying books that I am concerned about,” Weiss said. “Something else that I want to say, I have never asked for a book to be removed. I would like a system that restricts access to certain books, and they talked about that.”
The books that are removed are available online through the district’s catalog.
“We welcome our parents’ voice in our community around the text and around the table,” Erin Shoemaker said. “We try to represent all students. Many of us are parents as well and we try to represent that around the table when making decisions.”
The district has automated the process for challenging a book. You must be a parent to challenge a book.