CANBY, Ore. (KOIN) — A Canby School District board meeting Monday night got heated over the push by 2 parents to remove 36 books from their libraries.
One of the parents who submitted a written request to remove dozens of books last October was heckled while she spoke. Meanwhile, a high school senior received a standing ovation for his stance against the ban.
“Parents have a right to speak to what is being taught to children, especially when it comes to important topics like sex, sexual acts, sexual violent, suicide and drugs,” one Canby resident said at the March 13 board meeting.
A few of the titles are well known, such as “Beloved” and “The Bluest Eye”, both by Toni Morrison, and lesser known titles such as “Allegedly” and “Monday’s Not Coming,” both by Tiffany D. Jackson
Canby High School senior Zachary Woodruff spoke forcefully against the ban at Monday’s meeting.
“A majority of the books contain characters of racial minorities, trauma, LGBTQ+, and the inclusion of sex,” Woodruff said. “It is no coincidence that most of these books are dealing with these subject matters. Minority communities are being threatened.”
He got a standing ovation.
Shortly after he testified, Nicole Cole, one of the parents who requested the books for reconsideration also spoke.
“Some of these books, as I got into them, have really explicit sex. A lot of it. It is not about anyone’s race, it is not about anyone’s gender. It is not about being transgender. It is not about LGBTQ+ . I didn’t look at any of those things. I literally looked at the content of the book and thought – not every 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17-year-old can handle this content,” Cole said.
Cole explained that it’s not OK for parents to not know what books are in the library. She doesn’t think it’s fair that her kids can get any book they want and she won’t get notified. As a possible solution, she suggested parents get emailed what books their students check out.
Numerous parents and former teachers reiterated the student’s concerns over censorship, that 2 parents should not decide what all students can or cannot read.
“When we remove books in which diverse characters are featured, we tell the readers who gravitate to them that they, the diverse readers, don’t matter, that they are invisible,” former Canby educator Debra Harman said.
The Canby School District officials told KOIN 6 News they have a policy and procedure for reconsidering books. The district said part of the protocol is to hold the books until they can be reviewed.
But since the list of books is so long, they will complete the reconsideration process this summer — and after more parents and educators have time to take part in the conversation.