Updated 2/2/23 – NCAC has received a response from the Superintendent of St Lucie Public Schools. He has agreed to follow the district’s appeal process and to reconsider the four books that were improperly removed.
On 1/18/23 – The National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) wrote to St. Lucie Public Schools in St. Lucie, Florida regarding their response to book challenges last year. Our concerns are twofold.
First, the former Superintendent, Wayne Gent, unilaterally removed books from the school libraries without submitting them for formal review. The books were claimed to be obscene or harmful to minors, and included Two Boys Kissing, by David Levithan; Tricks, by Ellen Hopkins; Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty; and The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison. Former Superintendent Gent made his removal decision in a vacuum, without the review of an impartial and well-informed committee. As a result of this unilateral action, the District didn’t know whether or not the challenged books were being removed simply for being at odds with Gent’s personal beliefs. A removal based on such reasons would be unconstitutional under Board of Education v. Pico, 457 U.S. 853, 872 (1982).
Second, while the books which have been newly challenged this school year are now undergoing a review process, they have also been removed from circulation until that process is completed. These removals are in direct violation of the District’s own media specialist handbook. Removing challenged books from shelves undermine students’ access to ideas certain individuals don’t like or agree with, by encouraging meritless challenges to library materials.
We urge the District to return these books to shelves while the formal review process is conducted.
Read our full letter here; click here for a full screen view: