School board considers policy change regarding controversial books in library

CABARRUS COUNTY, N.C. — A controversial debate over book policy in Cabarrus County schools took a turn last week when a board member read a sexually explicit scene aloud from one of the books available for students.

The board members asked their teenage interns to leave the room before reading a passage from John Greene’s “Looking for Alaska.”

“I do not feel comfortable leaving children in here under the age of 17,” said board member Keshia Sandidge.

“This book was in our school system, and I am transparently reading it to you,” said Vice Chair Laura Blackwell. “And I am transparently saying two of (the books) are missing and I’m wondering where they are, and I’m guessing they’re probably under some kid’s mattress.”

This book is going to be one that will be the example and start the process for the literature committee to look at.

On Monday night, the school board will hear the first reading of a draft policy related to its ability to pull inappropriate literature and supplemental materials from library circulation.

A draft of the proposed policy indicates that the board could review any media collection material and decide if it should be pulled from circulation in the library and moved to a parental-approval section.

Books in that section would only be checked out after being approved in writing by the student’s parent or guardian.

Any material that is removed would be posted on the Cabarrus County website.

The board chair said that no books have been banned.

However, some books were pulled last spring while the board works to approve final policy revisions.

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