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NC Schools Unban 'Banned Books Week,' As Plan To Ban It Had Few Fans
Things are just very confusing right now, okay?
We are living in a time of practically unprecedented book banning, largely led by people who like to believe that their great love of using racial slurs in casual conversation and support for (or membership in) extremist groups like the Proud Boys makes them big free speech heroes. ‘Parental Rights’ laws are popping up in red states, giving parents practically free reign to make any book they don’t want their own kid reading unavailable to any other children as well. Groups like Moms For Liberty are showing up at school board meetings across the country to cry about Fun Home.
And yet, there are still relics from the Before Times when almost everyone agreed that banning books was a huge mistake — like the American Library Association’s Banned Book Week.
Sensing a bit of a potential controversy, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Communications Chief Shayla Cannady sent a letter to principals across the district asking them to cancel anything they had planned for the week, for fear of violating the state’s parental rights laws.
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It has come to our attention that some schools have planned events next week October 1-7, to mark the American Library Association’s “Banned Book Week.” If this is the case, all principals are requested to cancel all events and messaging associated with this observance.
“Banned Book Week” is not aligned with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools academic curriculum or our pillars of excellence. It is not something we teach in our classrooms or as supplementary material for out of school learning.
Please do not (send) out any communication on “Banned Book Week” or use school resources to promote or communicate about this observance. This includes but is not limited to daily announcements on the loudspeaker, visuals on screens, bulletin board displays, book displays in the media center or in classrooms. Additionally, please do not hold any book readings or offer suggestions for resources for staff and students.
Please be sure to communicate this to all teachers and staff. Under the Parents’ Bill of Rights, any attempts to share material in relation to Banned Book Week could be seen as a violation of the measure.
Thank you for your cooperation.
It did not go over quite as well as expected!
After receiving some not-so-great press and some angry letters (we assume from parents who don’t want to raise their children to be ignorant), the school backed down and sent another rather confusing email rescinding the order.
We have received several inquiries about whether the information shared earlier about Banned Book Week was mandatory for distribution.
The original message shared by the Communications Division was shared in response to several principal requests about the observance. The information shared was for building-level administrators to use, if needed.
We are not taking a position on banned book week as it is a site-based decision. It is not a violation or in any way associated with Parents Bill of Rights.
It is, of course, probably a real awkward celebration for all the Mama Bears and Moms For Liberty and Concerned Women For Illiteracy And Unplanned Pregnancies or whatever. They’ll surely have an interesting time explaining to their kids why their book bans are good, actually.