CAAN books ‘to be destroyed’ still in limbo, some now ‘disappeared’ | Local
The school board and Rapid City Area Schools Administration are still waiting to hear the legality of the sale of the five books originally slated for destruction near the end of the 2021-22 school year, and two of the titles are missing. .
Five book titles — “How Beautiful We Were: A Novel” by Imbolo Mbue, “Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic” by Alison Bechdel, “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” by Stephen Chbosky, “Girl, Woman, Other : A Novel” by Bernardine Evaristo and “The Circle” by Dave Eggers – were on the district’s surplus list and were listed as “to be destroyed” on May 4 after being deemed inappropriate by the administration earlier in the school year The books were purchased the summer before last school year for grade 12 English classes.
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RCAS acting executive director Nicole Swigart said in an email Monday that 30 copies of “The Circle” and 35 copies of “Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic” are no longer in the school’s warehouse. She said they would have been on a pallet of books sold to book buyers at an auction over the past school year.
Swigart said he was told that all the books were counted in both sets and that there was “no way to determine when they were sold; that was a mistake because they hadn’t been authorized to be sold”.
She said she hadn’t heard from the school district’s legal counsel on how to proceed with the books.
Matt Naasz, a district attorney for Gunderson, Palmer, Nelson and Ashmore, did not respond to a request for comment at the time of publication.
Board chair Kate Thomas said the board was still awaiting advice from lawyers on what to do with the remaining books at the August 15 CAAN school board meeting. She said if the lawyer says the sale of the books is approved, the remaining three titles will be on the surplus list for the Sept. 6 meeting and will be sold to a book buyer.
The controversy with the books began in August 2021, when then-Superintendent Lori Simon emailed school board members from a concerned parent asking if the book “How Beautiful We Were: A Novel was perhaps forbidden.
In the email, Simon replied to the parent that the district had been made aware of “sexually explicit content in a book” and after reading it he did not believe it was appropriate for students to read. school age. Simon forwarded his response to the board indicating that some of them may have received the same email.
The school district then began an investigation of the other titles for review. In the process, district administrators led by Valerie Seales, RCAS’s director of teaching, learning and innovation, also removed the other four titles.
The five sets of books were confirmed to be in the school district’s warehouse in March, according to email records.
In May, the book titles appeared on the district’s surplus property list and were put on the Board of Education’s agenda as “to be destroyed” items.
Public outcry, both for and against the books, at the May 3 meeting caused the Board of Education to delay a decision on the destruction of the titles and seek legal advice.