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Cadott school board makes final decision on possible book removals

Published: Mar. 28, 2022 at 10:30 PM CDT
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CADOTT, Wis. (WEAU) -A parent with students in the Cadott Elementary school asked the district to remove some books from its library.

A committee decided to keep them, so the parent appealed that decision.

Monday night the school board made the final decision on what’s happening with those books.

In January parent Casey Yeager submitted 12 books for the district to remove from the K-6 grade library.

So far six of those books have entered the final phase of the consideration process.

In a special meeting Monday night, the school board decided whether each book stays, moves to a different grade level or is removed.

School District of Cadott board members, parents and staff met in the Junior/Senior High School’s auditorium to determine what’s next for six books currently in the district’s elementary library.

These books ranged in topic from sex education to gender identity and a few nonfiction books.

A committee made up of community members and students weighed in earlier this year saying these books should stay.

The board’s final decision was different.

“Much of the decisions in regards to our library has been around age appropriate content,” said Cory LaNou, one of the school board members. “This is a very difficult discussion because every student physically matures at a different age as well as mentally matures at a different age.”

The board decided three of the books could stay: Melissa’s Story (aka George), The Deepest Breath and Hurricane Child.

A fourth one, Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag would remain in the library but would only be available to fourth grade and above.

One book, The Baby Tree, will no longer be available in any of the libraries.

However, it will be available at the guidance counselor’s office.

In a 4 to 3 vote, the board decided to remove the final title: Protest Movements: Then and Now.

“We did follow a process, and that everyone in that process took their role very seriously,” said Jenny Starck, the district’s superintendent. “They considered the books. You can tell from the discussion they looked for positive aspects. They looked for areas of concern. They tried to take perspectives of their own kids even or what their child might think about when they look at it.”

For some parents at the meeting, the final decision was disappointing.

“There was just some inconsistency tonight, and again, it’s hard to make decisions for 800 students, but you’re also making decisions for a community, and the content you put in, that children are reading as a whole,” said Darci Tiegs, a district parent.

Going forward, Tiegs hopes Monday night’s meeting will lead to more awareness and communication.

“Even though I may be unhappy or slightly disappointed in the decision that was made tonight with some of these books, if anything comes out of it, is it’s making the parents and community more aware of what’s going on, and that they do have a say, yes, I can sign a paper saying I don’t want my child reading this,” Tiegs said.

The school board said during the meeting it plans to discuss making changes to the district’s library policy.

One of those potential changes Starck said could be making it more clear what parents choices are when it comes to what books students can check out from the library.

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