Some Anchorage parents heated over ‘inappropriate’ books in school libraries

Some Anchorage parents heated over ‘inappropriate’ books in school libraries
Published: Feb. 22, 2023 at 5:56 AM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Controversy has been brewing over what is and is not appropriate for young students in the Anchorage School District.

Parents came out in droves at Tuesday night’s Anchorage School Board meeting to give public testimony on the censorship of books within the school district, but not before board president Margo Bellamy addressed the audience.

“From time to time, questions about specific books will come up, and it’s because of these times that the board and the school district has a formal policy and process to process and address any book or instructional material,” Bellamy said.

Bellamy says that the board invites parents and anyone in the community to bring items that they want to be addressed to the controversial issues committee.

On Tuesday, many people brought in books that they say are found in some ASD libraries and include content that some believe is inappropriate.

Earlier this month at an Anchorage School Board meeting, community member Jay McDonald brought a book called “Let’s Talk About It,” and proceeded to read an excerpt from it. McDonald called it inappropriate for students at the Feb. 7 meeting.

“The policy that ASD has under their diversity, equity, and inclusion push, that they’ve been transitioning kids in school and hiding it from parents — first they were telling me that it was not happening, and the materials I was asking for don’t exist,” McDonald said Tuesday night.

The school district replied in an email to Alaska’s News Source that this particular book is in a “professional collection” only, and isn’t available for access by students.

“ASD has a comprehensive process to receive, review, and resolve concerns regarding instructional and library materials. Concerns may be submitted by parents, guardians, staff, students, and community members,” wrote district spokesperson Lisa Miller.

McDonald chose to bring in a different book Tuesday night and was among many who pleaded with the board to not allow certain books in school libraries.

“My biggest concern is how can I protect them?” asked Shannon, a mother of two boys in the school district. “What can I do to make sure that whatever propaganda is going on here, whatever’s happening here — one, how did I not know about it, and two, how do I keep them safe from it?”

“None of this material falls into the category of education — none of it,” stated another public member. “This material should not be available in our schools.”

Miller added that the district has a webpage where members of the public can submit anything they find concerning to district officials.