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Idaho Education Association upset with Nampa school board decision to ban 22 books

The president of the Nampa Education Association raised frustrations over the Nampa School Board's decision to remove 22 books from district libraries.

BOISE, Idaho — A Nampa teacher is raising frustrations over the Nampa School Board's decision to remove 22 books from district libraries.

On May 11th, the board voted 3-2 to remove 22 books from libraries and curricula.

“There should be more dialog not less,” said Brian Coffey, an English teacher at Nampa High School.

Some of the well-known books include but are limited to The Kite Runner, The Handmaid's Tale, and The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

Coffey has been an English teacher for over six years and is also president of the Nampa Education Association. He spoke to KTVB on behalf of Nampa, Caldwell, Vallivue, Kuna, and Mountain Home Education Associations about their response to the school board’s decision on banning books.

“The biggest problem is the process itself and that it was a unilateral decision that was made and didn't involve much of a due process,” Coffey said. “Education is really about exposing people to new ideas, and that's a vital core mission that we have.”

Coffey added, that when it comes to exposing kids to sensitive or controversial topics, he believes educators are able to manage that.

“We have restricted sections, restricted policies, and teachers send out permission slips all the time to parents, to make sure that information is being vetted, that parents have a say,” he said. “There are options for kids who maybe don't want to be exposed to certain material and so all of that has really been squashed and stomped on by the board."

According to Coffey the general feeling among educators in the Nampa school district is that the board’s decision was not the appropriate way to address controversial issues.

“Our kids come from incredibly challenging circumstances and environments and normalize incredibly difficult life topics, and so the idea that we can't talk about books is incredibly disheartening,” Coffey said. “Students have their own first amendment right so in a state like Idaho where there's this huge push for enforcing freedom and individual rights, students have rights too."

Coffey said there needs to be more discussion about controversial topics, that is what education is about.

"The idea that the problem in this day and age is books and that teenagers are running to the library to get information is approaching the absurd when they mostly have cell phones that give them access to all of the human knowledge in all of history, at an instant,” Coffey said.

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