Horry County Schools book policy sparks concerns for some parents, staff

Published: Nov. 16, 2022 at 8:59 PM EST
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HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - For Horry County Schools, choosing what books are allowed into school libraries used to be left up to librarians.

Now, school principals will select members of the committees who get decide what books are allowed in school libraries.

Those committees will include the school library specialist, an administrator, a teacher representing core content, an instructional coach and four parents who are serving on the Parent Council, Advisory Board, School Improvement Council or PTO Board.

Currently, the district has five books that are on a restricted access list which all include topics of sexuality and the LGBTQ Plus Community.

Those books are as listed:

  • Julian is a Mermaid
  • Last Night at the Telegraph Club
  • Lily and Dunkin
  • Melissa [previously published as ‘George’]
  • What Riley Wore

At Monday’s Horry County Schools Committee meeting, parents and staff expressed their opinions on this 2015 policy, which was just recently revisited and approved, last week.

Some parents like Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union, Jace Woodrum, said Horry County School’s new book policy is a loss for schools and students.

“Librarians are trained professionals on expertise on what materials are appropriate for various age groups, for what is needed in a community, and we are taking that power and losing that expertise,” said Woodrum.

On the other hand, the school district said this policy isn’t just about banning books and keeping them out of students’ hands.

Lisa Bourcier with Horry County Schools said,” It’s more in-depth than just looking at a title and all of a sudden saying it’s inappropriate. The individual that is potentially wanting for a book to be reviewed has to fill out a form and it does have some criteria in it making sure that they’ve read the book.”

She added, “Giving examples of what is inappropriate, is age an issue, and should it be a book that may be not at an elementary, but okay at a middle, or is it something that is inappropriate at all levels.”

The school district said they are not planning on changing the policy.