I was appalled by Harrisonburg City Public Schools Superintendent Michael Richards' comments about his decision to remove a book from the Harrisonburg High School library collection. He admits that he pulled the title before the review process because he was "concerned that the book's contents ran afoul of school board policy." Why does the procedure even exist if it is not policy? Are there other procedures with which you disagree, Dr. Richards? And are planning to override any of them?
Was this title available on open shelving to the entire student body and faculty? Or was it assigned reading for a particular class? Did you read the book yourself or base your opinion solely on the opinion of the claims of the objecting parents? Did those parents read the entire book? As a parent, the complainers have every right to be concerned about what their child is reading. This is not to entitle them to supervise what my child is reading.
I write this as a retired public children's services librarian in New Jersey with 24 years of service, including having served as a member at-large of the New Jersey Library Association Executive Board and president of the NJLA Children' Services Section. I served as a volunteer in the Thomas Harrison Middle School for 14 years.
And as appalled as I am by Dr. Richards’ actions, I commend the DN-R for publishing the county Superintendent Oskar Scheikl's comments.