The National Coalition Against Censorship has published a new handbook for educators responding to book challenges. The resource was created in collaboration with the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). A longtime NCAC partner organization, NCTE has officially joined as a sponsor of the Kids’ Right to Read Project, which is a first responder to book challenges in schools and libraries.
The new handbook, which is free to all, offers guidance to educators in creating inclusive and viewpoint-neutral book challenge policies that protect students’ right to read and minimize disruption when books are challenged, as well as ensure that no single viewpoint is allowed to determine what students read. The resource also provides strategies and advice for educators navigating attempts to remove material from classrooms and libraries. NCAC is a strong advocate for having clear, viewpoint neutral policies in place to help manage book challenges when they occur. This allows schools and districts to balance the needs of students, teachers, parents and other stakeholders when controversies arise.
NCAC has been responding directly to book challenges and removals in schools and libraries for over 45 years, working to avoid the need for litigation and resolve issues at the community level. According to tracking by the American Library Association, several hundred book challenges are reported annually and many more go unreported. NCAC and NCTE hope to empower educators to understand their rights and responsibilities to protect students’ rights to learn, read and think critically.
In addition to the handbook, NCAC offers confidential advice to educators facing censorship challenges and support to school districts writing and enacting instructional material review policies. Book challenges can be reported to us via our Report Censorship form here: ncac.org/report-censorship