Calls For Book Bans In Walla Walla Public Schools Leads To New Review Policy

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LEAD: Walla Walla public schools have heard from community members for several months to remove books from the district. In order to continue to respond to complaints the school district developed a new review policy. NWPB’s Dori Luzzo Gilmour explains.

Luzzo Gilmour: The first book the school district reviewed was a graphic novel called Gender Queer by author/illustrator Maia Kobabe. Gender Queer is an autobiography of an adolescent experiencing coming of age and crushes with other non-binary friends.

The speakers at the Walla Walla school board said the discussions on racism, violence, sexual situations, and gender and sexuality in these books are not appropriate for children in schools.

Dominic Bayer is a Wal High Senior. He was angry at some of the commenters’ misplaced advocacy. They say they are protecting kids. Dominic disagrees.

Dominc: “These kids feel like they can’t speak for themselves…which I feel is frankly just wrong. Um the notion that high schoolers can’t speak for ourselves, in matters that concern our own education and the quality of our life and the future is wrong”

Other books that were named in the November meeting include The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, The Hate you Give by Angie Thomas, and I am not your perfect Mexican daughter by Erika L. Sanchez.

Dominic’s AP English course has read books that are now being questioned.

Dominic: “Things fall apart, my personal favorite book… I read it my sophomore year,  has been talked about has been questioned whether or not it should be within our library because it tackles topics of cultural diversification, colonization, and some violence…which is really unfortunate.”

School districts across the country are facing calls for removal of certain books under the belief that some are teaching Critical Race theory.

The Library Materials Review Committee was formed to respond to requests. One key component of the policy, the person filing the complaint must have READ the book themselves.

The American Library Association reported 273 books are being affected by censorship. These books often have content about race, gender, and sexuality.

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