Little Rock, Arkansas — Cited for being too controversial, some books have been removed from school districts on a national scale.
Over complaints of it being racially insensitive, a school district in Seattle removed ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ from the 9th-grade reading curriculum.
According to the Arkansas Department of Education, here is what would happen here, in the natural state, if parents thought the same.
“Arkansas is a local controlled state. So unless there are extreme instances where we are involved in the day to day operations, if there’s a district under state authority, or state control, for the most part, we are not involved in those day to day operations,” said Kimberly Mundell/ Arkansas Department of Education Director of Communications for the Division of Elementary and Secondary Education.
Meaning, the Arkansas Department of Education does not make curriculum decisions and does not maintain a list of required books for districts to make available for students.
“The beauty of that is because every area is so different in the state. Every area has different needs and different challenges, so those decisions should be made on the local school district level,” said Mundell.
Schools must follow state law on the district level, specifically Arkansas Code Annotated 6-25-105.
“It basically says that school districts will have written policies on hand that really identify and outline the procedures for retaining, removing, and selecting books for their libraries,” said Mundell. “It also states that they have to have a written policy in place for what is the procedure if someone wants to challenge those materials.”
The written policy must be followed if a district decides to remove a book.
“We do encourage districts, however, when they are making those decisions, as their policy serves as the legal basis, to take into consideration a lot of factors. What about this book is going to be helpful to the student academically? How is this going to leverage what they are learning in the classroom? Are the books and material age-appropriate? Do they cover a wide balance of viewpoints? Are they heavily reviewed? Do they have a lot of reviews? Are they requested by faculty and staff,” said Mundell.
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