Nancy Kochmann letter: Good decision made on Grisham novel
I applaud the Fargo Public School District review committee that upheld the decision to allow the use of "A Time to Kill" at Fargo North despite a parental challenge. The same parent also challenged a recommended reading list at Fargo Centennial ...
I applaud the Fargo Public School District review committee that upheld the decision to allow the use of "A Time to Kill" at Fargo North despite a parental challenge. The same parent also challenged a recommended reading list at Fargo Centennial Elementary school because of its inclusion of the book "Mick Harte Was Here." In both cases, the books were not strictly required readings (students were given the option of making other choices).
As a parent and an elementary school teacher in another district, I respect this parent's involvement in her children's reading and academic lives. However, I also value the academic freedom of all students as guaranteed by the First Amendment of the Constitution.
Educators, administrators and book selection committees have an important and difficult task. They must be respectful of values, including minority values, in the communities they serve. They also must demonstrate acceptance of our national diversity when making book selections. And lastly, they must seek engaging materials that provoke empowering dialogue and critical thinking on the parts of their students. Clearly, it is impossible for their choices to please all of the people, all of the time.
It should also be noted that parents do have the right to protest books or materials that they consider damaging to their children. That is why districts should have solid policies and procedures in place for the objective reviewing of book challenges.
While I am personally pleased with the current decisions in these particular cases (both are currently in the appeals process), I urge all citizens of our community to view these current challenges, not as unnecessary controversy, but rather, as evidence of a true democracy at work.