FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE)- Across the nation, banned books have been a topic of discussion. But, what does that look like for schools in Allen County?
WANE 15 asked all four Allen County public school districts for their banned books list and each district said they do not have such a list. However, Northwest Allen County, East Allen County, Southwest Allen County, and Fort Wayne Community school districts do have procedures in place to remove material if necessary.
When WANE 15 asked to have a conversation about banned books, all four school districts declined an interview.
The Indiana Department of Education says there isn’t currently a list of state banned books. Decisions about books used in classrooms and school libraries are all made at the local level. All four local districts in Allen County have a written procedure when it comes to evaluating books and material before it can be removed from their library.
Northwest Allen County and Southwest Allen County school districts “weed” books from their collection when they no longer meet the needs of their libraries.
We “weed” as needed based on factors such as time availability, circulation frequency, and collection size.Dr. Bill Toler, Assistant Superintendent NACS
East Allen County has a similar procedure, but books are evaluated before being included in school’s curriculum and periodically after. In light of the recent attention at the state level on this issue East Allen, Northwest Allen, and Southwest Allen are reviewing their procedures to see if any improvements need to be made.
Fort Wayne Community Schools sent WANE 15 their current Media Center Selection Policy:
An FWCS spokesperson added that, “FWCS has procedures in place for the selection and reconsideration of all curricular and library materials. If parents have concerns, parents should contact their child’s school.”
During the recent session, the Harmful Material Bill passed that could change the way schools remove and review certain material. The bill also sets up a process for parents to ask school boards to also review certain material. It passed in both the House and Senate, Holcomb then signed the bill Friday.
The Allen County Public Library says that certain titles can lead to conversations about books. “What I am hearing here locally in Allen County is that our community those diverse perspectives and diverse voices and even though they may not personally agree a book they support having it on the shelves so people can make up their minds for themselves,” said Susan Baier, ACPL Executive Director.
The 13 most challenged titles in 2022, according to the ALA, were:
- “Gender Queer: A Memoir” by Maia Kobabe
- “All Boys Aren’t Blue” by George M. Johnson
- “The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison
- “Flamer” by Mike Curato
- “Looking for Alaska” by John Green
- “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” by Stephen Chbosky
- “Lawn Boy” by Jonathan Evison
- “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” by Sherman Alexie
- “Out of Darkness” by Ashley Hope Perez
- “A Court of Mist and Fury” by Sarah J. Maas
- “Crank” by Ellen Hopkins
- “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” by Jesse Andrews
- “This Book Is Gay” by Juno Dawson