Independence High School library (copy)

The library at Independence High School in Ashburn.

A Loudoun County Public Schools review committee has recommended that the school system keep the novel “Monday’s Not Coming” by Tiffany D. Jackson on high school bookshelves while removing it from middle school library collections, according to LCPS Public Information Officer Wayde Byard.

A separate committee recommended that another novel under review — “#MurderTrending” by Gretchen McNeil — should continue to be available in both middle and high school libraries.

The school system initiated division-level reviews of the two novels in May after parents decried their inclusion of sexual and violent content.

Per the committee’s recommendation to Superintendent Scott Ziegler, “Monday’s Not Coming,” they said, should remain in LCPS high school library collections and be kept as options for book clubs and independent reading at the high school level.

The committee, however, recommended that the book be removed from the library collections at six middle schools in the district.

According to a description on the LCPS website, “Monday’s Not Coming” follows a girl named Claudia who “seems to be the only one who notices” when her best friend, Monday Charles, goes missing.

The book is part of the LCPS “diverse classroom libraries” collection for all high school grades.

“#MurderTrending,” the other committee recommended, will remain in middle and high school library collections and be available as an optional book club text in units of study.

Teachers are advised against using the novel in class-wide, whole group instruction, according to Byard.

Publishers Weekly describes “#MurderTrending” as a “biting satire of reality shows and today’s U.S. political atmosphere.”

At a May 11 Loudoun County School Board meeting, parents read aloud passages from the two books, including a graphic description of oral sex, a description of a male character’s genitalia, and a scene in which a woman is beaten and locked in a closet.

Some speakers carried posters bearing printouts of the passages in question.

“If this is inappropriate for me to read to you, this is inappropriate for our children,” parent Patti Menders said during the meeting. “Please get these dirty books out of our schools.”

Parents are allowed to submit formal requests that LCPS staff reconsider certain reading materials, as outlined by School Board Policy 5045 — “Selection, Review and Challenge of Instructional Resources.”

Ziegler must notify the complainant of the result of the division-level review within 30 days of the review request or appeal being filed.

The complainant may then appeal the committee’s recommendation to the School Board within 15 days.

The LCPS diverse classroom libraries have drawn criticism since their announcement in 2019, with parents claiming the School Board used the concept of diversity as a “Trojan horse” to slip in titles containing age-inappropriate content.

On May 12, Ziegler released a statement reminding parents that they may request an alternate text if they believe a particular book is inappropriate for their students.

(3) comments

jke

Disagree, they had respect and have squandered it all with lies and bad policies!

racrocker

Our school board has a tough job and deserves to be treated with respect individually and as a group whether we agree with them or not. As representatives of a highly diverse community the board cannot be expected to implement every demand of a minority of parents. Strong, emotionally charged public demands for restrictions on a particular book most often serves only to increase interest in it.

jke

Something is wrong when you are offended by pronouns but not by sin.

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