School official vows to review book ban that targeted Black authors
Jane Johnson, president of the Central York school board, said officials would review a list of banned teaching materials — all of them by creators of color — that drew criticism and protest.
In a written statement, Johnson said the ban was a result of complaints by some district parents. Students, however, organized a protest this week in response to The York Dispatch's reporting on the issue.
"The board believes that the fundamental purpose of school is that of core academics, objective education without indoctrination," she said Friday, "and we look forward to the forthcoming review of the List and bringing balance to our classrooms."
Johnson said the district would soon form a curriculum committee to review the ban. The board also wants its next superintendent — who will replace Michael Snell, who retires in October — to provide input on the matter.
She did not lay out a timetable for the review but noted that the school board "embraces diversity in its many forms, including diversity of thought."
Here is Johnson's statement in its entirety:
"With respect to the “Diversity Committee Summer Meeting Resource List” (List) from summer 2020, a significant portion of our District's parents raised concerns with certain of the materials included on the List. These concerns were based on the content of the resources, not the author or topic. On November 9, 2020 the then-Board unanimously approved a decision to freeze the use of these resources pending restoration of the Board curriculum-oversight mechanism. One solution to this oversight was creation of a Curriculum Committee. Additionally, upon the incumbent Superintendent’s retirement announcement, the Board felt the new Superintendent should also be part of this important discussion. We will soon have both a newly formed Curriculum Committee and a new Superintendent to engage in this discussion.
"The Board embraces diversity in its many forms, including diversity of thought. We have always welcomed myriad quality diversity materials embracing differences and fostering equality, tolerance, inclusiveness, communication and kindness. However, many District parents have expressed concern that certain resources on this particular list foster the opposite by promoting unequal treatment of individuals on immutable characteristics. They believe that rather than uniting on diversity, certain resources polarize and divide on diversity and are based on disputed theories and facts. The Board believes that the fundamental purpose of school is that of core academics, objective education without indoctrination from any political or social agenda, and we look forward to the forthcoming review of the List and bringing balance to our classrooms."
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