I’m sure everyone is familiar with latest book banning drama from the Cape Henlopen School Board. If not, here’s the recap:
Cape Henlopen School District’s decision to take a book off a summer reading list for incoming high school freshmen has drawn protests from librarians, some parents and teachers.
The young-adult book, “The Miseducation of Cameron Post,” which features a main character who is gay, was removed from the list by the school board in late June. The board majority cited foul language, not sexual orientation, as the reason for their action.
Which was followed by this:
Several Cape Henlopen School Board members indicated a willingness to reconsider their vote last month to remove a young adult novel from a freshman summer reading list at a Thursday meeting where librarians and a parent criticized them for it.
Now, this isn’t the first time the Cape Henlopen School Board went after a book. It’s obviously a “thing” for this school board.
But today’s article in the Cape Gazzette brings a new tactic to the the table.
Danforth’s letter was not the only letter to the board. Brittingham forwarded a selection of letters to the Cape Gazette.
Chris Spicer, identified as a Cape High parent, questions what damage would have been done if the book was kept on the list.
“I feel strongly that the value of the content of this book far outweighs any poor language. You as a board member are empowered to make decisions for a public school system that should promote the best opportunities for all students,” Spicer writes.
In another email, Joe Niemand, who identifies himself as “a gay man who would like things to be easier for future generations,” sarcastically thanks the board for a knee-jerk, homophobic reaction.
“As a result of your ignorance and prejudice, this book will receive a tremendous amount of attention over the coming weeks,” he writes.
In responding to all the emails, Brittingham thanks the writer for their concern and stands by the board’s decision to remove the book from the list based on the language. [emphasis mine]
First, did the Cape Gazette file an FOIA requesting those emails?
Second, why would the Cape Gazette only publish the emails (complete with the email writers’ names) that disagreed with the board? Did Brittingham forward all the emails surrounding this issue, or just these? And was he complying with FOIA request, or did he just forward a selection of emails to the Cape Gazette on his own? That’s a pretty big question.
Why aren’t the emails (and their authors’ names) complaining about the book listed in the article? Why are they still referred to as “parents” in articles? When will their emails and identities be published? (FYI: I don’t think anyone’s personal emails to their elected officials should be published this way.) And should we all be prepared for the emails we send to our elected officials to be published in the newspaper?
Even more interesting, it appears that the people whose private emails (to their elected school board representatives) were published in the Gazette may not have been consulted.
As I write this, I have received confirmation that Chris Spicer was not asked if it was okay for Brittingham to release her email to the press. She’s not ashamed of her views, but when the people who wrote/complained to have the book removed are anonymous… Well, If I were a Cape parent/citizen, I would think twice before emailing that school board.
It has also come to my attention that parents and citizens have filed a formal complaint with the district demanding that the book be returned immediately to the summer reading list on the grounds that the board failed to follow their own written policy when they voted to remove the book. Good for them! Since when does a school board dictate curriculum? Answer: Never.