Three out of 17 books on the Columbia County’s supplemental reading list have been removed from the curriculum.
The list was brought forward by the novel committee and looked over by the Superintendent Dr. Sandra Carraway.
NewsChannel 6 was scheduled to speak to Dr. Carraway about their plans for a new STEAM school. While we were there, we asked about the book list and reporter, Jenna Kelley, received a strong response.
“If you want to talk about things, I’m always available, but if you scheduled to me talk about a new high school, and then you want to throw in about textbooks or whatever, that’s just wrong. So, make it a lesson for you young lady,” says Dr. Carraway.
She wasn’t very happy about our questioning at first, but Dr. Carraway did explain how books are added to or taken off the list as part of Columbia County’s curriculum.
One of the things the Committee and Dr. Carraway look for includes what she says are topics of concern.
Out of 17 books presented by the committee, only 14 made the cut after the Superintendent and Board review.
“One of them had a scene where a soldier was having sexual relations with a girlfriend. Others with excessive language that was not really appropriate for a 15 year old,” says Dr. Carraway. We act in the place of parents and we want parents to have a say, too.”
A local parent tweeted Nic Stone, the Georgia author of the book, “Dear Martin.” It’s about a young African-American boy who has a run-in with a police officer.
In that tweet, the parent called the decision “racist,” and included an anonymous text purported to be from a Columbia County teacher expressing love for the book.
“I think that teachers would like to see interesting content, engaging, we call it high interest reading, and we agree with that. I think sometimes maybe they don’t view things in the same ways that we do because we have to consider the entire population we serve,” says Dr. Carraway.
The controversy over the reading list has reached beyond Columbia County. Best selling author of “My Sister’s Keeper,” Jodi Picoult, supports Stone.
As well as a woman from Ohio who directly addressed the county.
She says, “Representation matters. Choice matters.”
“When children come to our school they know they are going to be receiving content that is appropriate for their age,” says Dr. Carraway.
We reached out to the school board for minutes on the Novel Committee meeting, but they are not available.