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Records: Only one challenge made against Nampa school books prior to board's ban

According to public records, the Nampa School District only received one challenge in the last school year. The challenge came from a parent about 23 books.

NAMPA, Idaho — It's been roughly six weeks since the Nampa School Board voted to "permanently remove" 22 books from district library shelves. 

KTVB submitted a public records request with the Nampa School District shortly after the May 9 meeting, hoping to learn how many complaints the district received in the last school year - and if there were any - about what books? 

On Wednesday, the answer came clear. It turns out, there was one complaint and one challenge for the entire year. The complaint came from a parent in January about the book "Looking for Alaska," by John Green. 

The challenge came from a parent about 23 books. Back on Dec. 16, 2021, the parent sent an email to the superintendent and the Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Laurie Maughan.

The email said, "a number of pornographic books are in the district's schools. As a parent I am appalled at the content of these books."

She went on to say, "there are also many other parents that are sharing this same concern. How can we trust you to be providing appropriate materials for our children to be learning from if you are allowing this pornographic material into their libraries. These books need to be removed immediately. Some of these books talk in detail about rape and molestation or suicide."

Some of the books do include that content, but - as several librarians and other school officials have said - those books serve a purpose for some students. Some books may only be found on the shelves of high school libraries as well.

None are required reading for any class, but do have educational value.

In her email, the parent added she would, "not be giving up until these books are off the shelves."

Her list of books included in the email was close to what the Nampa School Board eventually decided to remove. The list of removed books is included in the link below:

RELATED: Books challenged or banned in Idaho school districts

The parent also started a change.org petition in January, which garnered 105 signatures before it closed. 

In the petition, the parent said the district and librarians do not have the students' best interests at heart.

"Making the excuse that they have educational value. If I make brownies and put just a little dog poop in them, does the chocolate override the poop and make it still good enough for you to eat? Furthermore from my understanding it is illegal in the state of Idaho to even have these books available to minors," the change.org petition reads.

KTVB contacted the parent to see if she would talk about the decision, but have not heard back yet.

The Nampa School Board did meet last week to discuss updating their process for reviewing and selecting books, something they said was not clear. 

The board is yet to take any action, but said it will pick it back up at a future board meeting. 

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