Getting Answers: proposal to create list of approved books in Ludlow Public Schools
LUDLOW, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - Western Mass News is getting answers after a concerned parent reached out to our newsroom regarding a recently proposed policy in Ludlow Public Schools which would dictate how and which books are approved to be kept in public school libraries.
The concerned Ludlow parent reached out to our newsroom regarding the recently proposed policy and their comment read, in part: “There is a proposed library policy which was essentially copied from a PA school district and was influenced by the PA Family Institute. Many of us are concerned that this new policy will be used to ban LGBTQ books in the school system.”
We did some digging and found a policy had been made public after a Ludlow school committee meeting on Tuesday. The push for a new policy came after some parents expressed concerns regarding what they call pornographic images and language in some of the books in school libraries.
“Why does the school permit pornography? Why do our schools want to expose our kids to pornography? Pornography, it’s not a place in school,” said one parent during the meeting.
The chair of the committee, Jeffrey Laing, expressed that this has been an ongoing issue for the past five or six years.
“We had parents come in, familiar faces as to who is here now, brought it to our attention that there were books inside the library that seemed inappropriate for kids in middle school,” Laing explained.
The new policy was submitted by committee member Joao Dias and it would dictate how and which books are approved to be in Ludlow Public School libraries. Western Mass News obtained a copy of the policy after it was made public this week. The process for deciding which books will be in the libraries will be as follows.
A district level library supervisor of each school will give a recommended list of books to the school superintendent. After the superintendent’s approval, that list will be provided to the school committee and posted publicly for 30 days, which will allow parents guardians and employees to submit written comments on the recommended list.
The superintendent will then make a final list recommendation, considering the public comments, and bring it to the school committee. The committee may accept or reject the list in whole or in part.
This process will be done for every public school in Ludlow. The policy also lists restrictions for books including books that have visual or written depictions of sexual acts or nude intimate parts.
Dias confirmed his policy was derived from a Pennsylvania school’s policy. Western Mass News dug a little deeper and found the Central Bucks School District policy in that state, which was adopted last July, that mirrors almost identically to the one proposed in Ludlow. We searched through the Central Bucks School Committee meeting minutes and found hundreds of parents speaking out in public comment, concerned about the committee’s consideration of banning multiple books that touch on LGBTQ topics.
Members of the Ludlow School Committee told us that me they cannot discuss this policy any further until their next meeting on May 23, which is when they plan to discuss the proposed policy and hold public comment and then vote on the policy at the following meeting.
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