Concerns raised over school library catalogue

GECDSB meeting held December 6, 2022. (Via YouTube)

Some parents and a school board trustee are raising concerns about some of the books in the public board’s library system.

Linda Qin introduced a motion at Tuesday’s meeting of the Greater Essex County District School Board. She wanted the board to publish a list of all new books being introduced into schools.

Qin said the motion would improve transparency and parent involvement.

“I think it’s good for the parents to have [a] chance to speak their concerns and we should respect their opinions,” said Qin.

A catalogue of books available in school libraries is already online and can be accessed by parents and members of the public.

Superintendent Clara Howitt with the school board said there is a process in place for parents to bring up concerns about books read in the classroom or available in the library.

Parents at the meeting raised concerns about a number of books already in the school library. Titles include Push by Sapphire, How Mamas Love Their Babies by Juniper Fitzgerald and Elise Peterson, and This Book is Gay by James Dawson.  These parents would like book titles published before they are put in circulation.

Qin argued parents should have an opportunity to voice their concerns about what is available to their children.

“I don’t think it’s good to put too much politics and ideology to the young kids. To wash their minds, it kind of wash their minds before they are mature enough to make judgement,” said Qin.

Ultimately, none of the other trustees supported the motion.

“I really worry about what the purpose of this is. What I see is this is a slippery slope to hearing from people that don’t particularly like a certain book but it might be appropriate for some other children,” said Trustee Ron LeClair at the meeting. “I really worry that this is really just an attempt to start putting pressure to start banning books and I certainly am not somebody that is in favour of banning books for the sake of banning books.”