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Nampa School Board to discuss challenged books process at special Monday work session

At the board’s May 9 meeting, three of the board’s five members voted to remove 22 books from district libraries “forever,” citing concerns about “pornography."

NAMPA, Idaho — This article originally appeared in the Idaho Press.

A Monday Nampa School Board work session will include a discussion of the process for challenged books in the district.

The meeting is scheduled for Monday, June 6, at 6 p.m. and will take place in the board room of the Ted J. Comstock Administration Building, 619 South Canyon Street, Nampa. School board meetings are also streamed on the Nampa School District’s YouTube Channel.

At the board’s May 9 meeting, three of the board’s five members voted to remove 22 books from the district’s libraries “forever,” citing concerns about “pornography,” as previously reported. The books in question were in the process of being reviewed by committees of parents, teachers, and staff to determine their suitability, but it is unclear how the board’s decision would affect that.

The district released a statement later that week, saying, “the board and district will work together to create a fair, consistent and transparent procedure for handling challenged books.”

The discussion Monday, listed as “Process for Challenge Books,” is the second work session topic listed, following a discussion of the budget for the upcoming fiscal year and preceding two other items on discussion of curriculum and board priorities and goals.

The workshop is open to the public, said Kathleen Tuck, communications director for the district. Tuck said she did not know if there would be time for public comment, noting that “the agenda does not mention it.”

There is a portion of the workshop at the end that is in executive session; those sessions are not required to be open to the public per Idaho open meeting law.

Board Clerk Krissy LaMont did not immediately return a request for comment.

An accompanying document for Monday’s work session, titled, “Follow-up from Challenged Books Meeting Notes” includes notes such as “collaborate better with the community,” “staff was more informed on options and possible process for challenged books,” “board wasn’t informed on options and possible process,” and lists consistency, transparency, and accountability under “things needed to move forward.”

It also includes notes that read, “Meaning of pornography?” and “Is this the meaning that is going to be used consistently.”

Word of the board’s decision in May spread quickly through the community, with book retailer Rediscovered Bookshop vowing to set up special shelves for the books in question, buy more of the books, and distribute them to the community in a tweet and newsletter. The bookshop has a store in Boise and in Caldwell.

On Wednesday, June 8, the bookshop is planning a “Banned Books Giveaway” event at Flying M Coffee Garage in Nampa, 1314 2nd Street South, Nampa, from 6 to 8 p.m., according to the bookshop’s website. The event will give away over 1,250 copies of various books from the banned list that the public donated in one week following the board’s decision, according to the website. Anyone with a Nampa Schools ID card will be able to receive up to three copies of the books, and staff and teachers will be able to take home copies as well, as previously reported.

A banned book read-in will also take place on the school district’s administration building lawn (619 S. Canyon Street, Nampa) on Monday, June 13, at 6 p.m., organized by the Nampa Banned Books Fan Club.

The books removed based on the decision at the May meeting were “Kite Runner,” by Khaled Hosseini; “Leah on the Offbeat,” by Becky Albertalli; “The Prince and the Dressmaker,” by Jen Wang; “Thirteen Reasons Why,” by Jay Asher; “The 57 Bus,” by Dashka Slater; “Drama,” by Raina Telgemeier; “Looking for Alaska,” by John Green; “The Bluest Eye,” by Toni Morrison; “The Handmaid’s Tale,” by Margaret Atwood; “l8r, g8r,” by Lauren Myracle; “Out of Darkness,” by Ashley Hope Perez; “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” by Stephen Chbosky; “Crank,” by Ellen Hopkins; “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian;” by Sherman Alexie; “City of Heavenly Fire,” by Cassandra Clare; “Clockwork Princess,” by Cassanrda Clare; “Eleanor and Park,” by Rainbow Rowell; “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,” by Jonathan Safran Foer; “Sold,” by Patricia McCormick; “Speak,” by Laurie Halse Anderson; “33 Snowfish,” by Adam Rapp; and “It’s Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health,” by Robie H. Harris.

This article originally appeared in the Idaho Press, read more on IdahoPress.com.

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