Hamilton County School Board Looks at Controversy Over School Reading Lists

The Hamilton County School Board met Thursday night. The topic that brought in large crowds was school reading lists.

Tara Lyons said, “Perhaps we can all take the briefest of moments and be happy our kids are reading anything at all.”

Taylor Lyons is a member of Moms for Social Justice, a local group that is fighting to keep certain books in school that some other parents and board members say are inappropriate for school children. Parents tell me these books are on the reading lists for grades 8th through 12th.

One mom says the words are so offensive, a school email wouldn’t send them.

“When a parent submitted the request for reconsideration for one of these books, including the quotes from the book, the email was blocked due to banned content confirming that the language was too explicit for the districts email server, yet it’s deemed appropriate for our students,” said one parent at the meeting.

The main agenda question concerning these books was the procedure for having them selected.

When Chief Schools Officer Dr. Neelie Parker was asked this, she replied the process wasn’t clear and quote, “I have to be honest, sometimes the principal doesn’t even know what books are in the schools.”

A couple board members suggested the school board shouldn’t censor books to which other board members argued they weren’t censoring at all.

Joe Smith, School Board District 3 Member, said, “But the text was very good, and very educational especially if you don’t know anything about that world. I just wish it had been written without the vile language.”

This will be an ongoing discussion as policies are made regarding book approval, but with all the finger pointing going on, a sentiment repeated by everyone was that parents should know and be involved in what their children are reading.

Categories: Chattanooga, Education, Hamilton County, Local News