A committee of parents and staff voted 7-4 to keep the book “Just One Day” on Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan secondary school library shelves following a request from parents to remove it.
Parents Ben and Kandi Lovin wanted district officials to reconsider whether the book was appropriate after their 11-year-old daughter checked it out from the Rosemount Middle School Library. “Just One Day” by Gayle Forman has “adult themes,” the couple wrote, and includes vulgar language and sexual content that is “not appropriate for middle school, or we believe, even high school students.”
At Thursday night’s meeting, parent Ben Lovin read the passages the couple considered objectionable and restated their belief that the book wasn’t suitable for secondary students.
“We decided to go through with [this process] because we think it’s the right thing to do,” said Kandi Lovin. “There’s a lot of parents that are naive in this. … We certainly were.”
Dawn Lyons, secondary media specialist, noted the book has won awards and garnered positive reviews from professional journals. Lyons said she supported the parents’ decision to restrict their own child from reading the book, but found it unacceptable to prevent all students from checking it out.
The National Coalition Against Censorship, an association of 50 national nonprofits, had issued a statement urging the district to retain the book.
Parent and committee member Margie Broman said there is a perception that school library books meet a certain standard. “I feel that it was a little surprising that it’s still allowed in our middle school libraries,” she said.
Tony Taschner, spokesman for the district, said officials have been asked to reconsider a book’s inclusion in school libraries only a handful of times in the past two decades. None of those books has ever been removed, he said.
Breck teacher attends climate conference
Beckie Alexander, an eighth-grade science teacher at Breck Middle School, will be in Paris next week for the United Nations Climate Change Conference.
Alexander, one of 10 education ambassadors selected nationwide to attend the annual conference, will observe U.N. negotiations, blog about her experiences and conduct live webcasts with students at Breck.
Leading up to the trip, Alexander has been introducing her nearly 100 students to the science of climate change, including the natural carbon cycle and fossil fuels. Students also are thinking about how different countries might negotiate around climate change concerns, she said.
Breck Middle School director Sky Fauver said Alexander has been committed to climate change issues for years. He said the school is financially supporting her trip.
“This opportunity is the fruit of a lot of work that Beckie has done over the years,” he said.
Alexander is asking her students to think about what the climate might be like when they’re older. The conversation around climate change is shifting, she said.
“It’s moving out of the political realm, actually, and into the personal realm,” she said. “I think more and more people are starting to feel impacts in various ways.”