- Central Bucks School District
- News Archive
CBSD Community Message on Library Materials Policy
Dear Central Bucks Community,
As you may know, the CBSD School Board conducts policy reviews on an ongoing basis as part of its governance responsibilities. Included in this process has been the development of an updated Library Materials policy (Policy 109.2), which will be voted on by the Board at the July 26 meeting.
In the last few months, this policy has been mischaracterized within our community and in the press, so we are sharing with you today some context for its framework and the intention behind it. The policy is also linked here so that you can read it directly yourself.
It’s important to emphasize at the outset that the Board, alongside administration, faculty and staff, begins its work in all cases with the premise that every single student in Central Bucks Schools deserves to be seen, heard, cared for, included, accepted, respected, loved and, most especially, educated. Our students also deserve access to the great diversity of ideas that are part of the human experience. That is a tremendous responsibility – one that we deeply embrace and share with the parents of the district, and one that extends to our school libraries.
A major mischaracterization of the proposed library policy is that it’s a book ban. That is unequivocally untrue. The policy is intended to prioritize materials that support and enrich curriculum and/or students’ personal interests and learning. The policy states that books should be appropriate for the subject area and for the age, intellectual development and ability level of the students for whom the material is selected. The policy also states that non-fiction resources should incorporate accurate and authentic factual content.
One of the policy’s misinterpretations is that the proposed language means that books with sexual content of any kind would be at risk of removal from library shelves. That is not the case. Books such as “The Bluest Eye” by Pulitzer Prize winning author Toni Morrison, which chronicles the real-life horror of racism and sexual abuse, belongs in our school libraries at an age-appropriate level. So do the classics like “The Scarlet Letter” or an illustrated reference book about anatomy. There are books, though, that contain salacious, gratuitous, graphic, explicit sexual content with no literary or educational applications; those do not belong in school libraries.
Another misinterpretation is that the new policy has been crafted to remove books from libraries. That is untrue. In fact, the policy is about creating processes for acquiring new books and for giving parents an avenue to challenge a book they would prefer their child/ren not read. Should a parent challenge a book, it will go through a review process stewarded by our educators, librarians and administrators. If the educator-led review process finds that the challenged book should not remain in the library, the policy guidelines stipulate that another book on the same subject matter must replace it.
One other misinterpretation is that the board is seeking to play a central role in selecting library books. That is also not true. Professional educators and administrators will create and manage the process to bring new books in and to review books that parents challenge; educators will have the final say on library materials based on standards established for elementary, middle and high schools. They are the professionals who deserve the space, trust, and respect to do their jobs.
There are always many sides to any issue. That’s the basis of civic discourse. Constructive discussion, grounded by the facts, is the process through which policies like this are developed and refined. Conversely, narratives driven by misinformation and inaccurate assumptions are a disservice to our community. Through our actions now, we have the chance to model for students a productive, inclusive and respectful way of engaging with one another as we build a path forward together for our district. We appreciate you taking the time to review this information and encourage you to read the proposed policy for yourself.
Dr. Abram M. Lucabaugh Dana Hunter
Superintendent President, Board of Directors
Central Bucks School District Central Bucks School District