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Star Tribune writers tracking education issue

Rosemount couple want book removed from district libraries

A Rosemount couple believes a book their sixth-grade daughter brought home from the Rosemount Middle School library is inappropriate because of its sexual content and is suggesting the district remove it from all Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan libraries.

Ben and Kandi Lovin are challenging the book "Just One Day" by Gayle Forman, which centers on a teenager, Allyson, who spends one romantic day in Paris with a mysterious actor and later decides she must leave college and return to Europe to find him.

"As a whole this book's content is not appropriate for middle school, or we believe, even high school students. It covers adult themes ... that most students have not been exposed to and should not be provided by the school," the Lovins wrote on a district form. "It is a novel that has no life lesson to be learned."

They cited "a graphic sex scene, underage drinking [and] date rape" as problematic aspects of the book and also object to what they feel is inappropriate language.

A committee of parents, students and district staff will review the book and meet on Dec. 3 to discuss its fate. The group will listen to the parents' reasoning and then decide whether it should remain on media center shelves.

The Lovins can appeal the committee's decision, said Tony Taschner, district spokesman.

Convening a committee to consider removing a book isn't common, Tascher said, and only a handful of books have been challenged since he came to the district in 1996.

In 2014, a district parent took issue with the book, "Sixth Grade Can Really Kill You" by Barthe DeClements because it used the word "retarded." The committee voted 10-0 to keep the book in circulation.

Records: Interim superintendent favorite among Minneapolis school board members

Board members Jenny Arneson, Carla Bates, Josh Reiminitz, Don Samuels and Siad Ali preferred interim Superintendent Michael Goar over all five other candidates to lead the Minneapolis district.

The board used a "matrix" sheet to select three superintendent finalists Wednesday, and the Star Tribune requested each board member's worksheet from the school district. The nine elected board members and one student representative ranked each person against the others.

The exercise was used to select three finalists and was not an official vote.

Despite the majority of the board selecting Goar over all the other candidates, he currently does not have unanimous backing. 

Here is the worksheet for each board member, with their preferred candidate

Nelson Inz : Kenneth Spells, superintendent in Alton Ill., not a finalist

Tracine Asberry: Sergio Paez, former superintendent in Holyoke, Mass., finalist

Jenny Arneson: Michael Goar, Minneapolis interim superintendent, finalist

Carla Bates: Michael Goar, Minneapolis interim superintendent, finalist

Josh Reimnitz: Michael Goar, Minneapolis interim superintendent, finalist

Rebecca Gagnon: Jinger Gustafson, assistant superintendent in Anoka-Hennepin, not a finalist

Don Samules: Michael Goar, Minneapolis interim superintendent, finalist

Siad Ali: Michael Goar, Minneapolis interim superintendent, finalist

Kim Ellison: Sergio Paez, former superintendent in Holyoke, Mass., finalist