Board Works Out Summer Assignment Policy
Cape Henlopen board members approved Dec. 11 a policy on summer schoolwork, designed to avert future controversies over assigned material. The measure passed 6-0 with one absent, board member Noble Prettyman.
In June, the board removed “The Miseducation of Cameron Post” from a high school reading list after nearly a dozen parents complained about profanity, sex and drug use throughout the book. The board later reinstated the book but removed the entire list after other parents complained about similar issues with remaining books on the list. Additionally, no one in the district could explain how the books had been chosen.
Board member Jen Burton pushed for the new policy following backlash over the board’s decision to remove the book from the reading list because of profanity and sexual content.
“I am happy with the policy. I was mainly concerned that the policy did not specifically dictate which books are selected because I believe this is an individual teachers choice,” she said. “My real concern is that our teachers and/or administrators are always mindful that the books they choose are age-appropriate for all students in that grade level or age group.”
The policy requires that assignments are aligned to current educational standards and consistent across all grade levels and schools.
The policy states summer reading material will be published by April 15 each year.
Citizens of the school community who wish to challenge the required or suggested materials may do so by May 15 by using the challenge process provided by the district, the proposed policy reads.
Board policy states challenges must be submitted to the school principal in writing with a request for reconsideration of library and instructional materials form available at the school office. The process includes a committee review of the material in question followed by a written decision sent to the complainant and other district officials.
In another controversy brewing over “The Miseducation of Cameron Post,” the National Coalition Against Censorship is protesting the removal of the book by the Indian River School District.
The group sent a letter to the school district after the book was removed from the Sussex Central High School library, said Mayukh Sen, program associate for the coalition.
Sen said “The Miseducation of Cameron Post” was removed from the library after the board president filed a formal complaint about profanity in the book.
A review committed voted to restore the book to shelves and Superintendent Susan Buting accepted the recommendations, however, the board president has since appealed this decision, Sen said.
Indian River school board president Charles Bireley could not be reached for comment.
The National Coalition Against Censorship has been joined by the American Civil Liberties Union of Delaware, the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, the Association of American Publishers, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, PEN American Center, the National Council of Teachers of English, and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators in calling for the reinstatement of the book to Sussex Central High School’s library.
Sen said the book’s removal flagrantly defies numerous Constitutional and educational principles. As such, NCAC and other signatories hope that the rest of the Board will endorse the recommendations of both the committee and the superintendent by returning the book to library shelves, she said.