State Watch

Pa. school district rescinds ban on books meant to teach diversity

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An all-white Pennsylvania school board this week voted to rescind its ban on books having to do with race and social issues after students protested the decision.

Last October, the York School District 1 Board voted to ban materials from Black and Latino authors having to do with race, social justice and history.

During protests earlier this month, students accused the board of ignoring conversations about diversity and equality. Teachers and libraries also said the ban made their jobs harder as it made them scared for their job security.

Around 32 percent of the York School District 1 student body is made up of minorities.

As the York Daily Record reported, this decision from the school board comes about a week after the board initially indicated that it would refuse to reverse its yearlong ban on the materials. According to the newspaper, parents and alumni all expressed their displeasure with the board’s actions, calling the ban “disgusting,” “unethical” and “immoral.”

In a statement following the vote, the board argued that upset surrounding the ban was a misunderstanding. Board President Jane Johnson claimed that the ban was only a “freeze” on the books and was never meant to be permanent, the Record reported.

She went on to claim that the board had been meaning to quickly review the books that had been banned, but acknowledged “it didn’t happen.”

“It has taken far too long,” said Johnson.

Fellow school board member Kyle King said, “I am not a supporter of banning books and would not support a ban on books,” and also acknowledged that the board had simply not conducted a review of the books in question.

Former York School District 1 Board member Marie Damiano called the board’s statement “very, very sneaky,” the Record reported.

“And it’s not transparent. This was a ban on books,” said Damiano. “This board has a problem with anybody and anything that is different from them.” 

Tags book ban Critical race theory Pennsylvania
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