Citizens question DASD School Board about books in the Middle School library. A report by Glenn Schuckers
A group of citizens attended the regular meeting of the DuBois Area School Board on October 28. Four of those attending signed up to address the board during the audience participation part of the agenda.
Each of the speakers brought his or her concerns regarding the content of some of the books in the Middle School Library to the board. While their concerns did not point out problems with what has become known as “Critical Race Theory,” they all questioned why certain books and content are accessible to children in fifth through eighth grades.
One of the speakers read portions from a book her daughter had brought home and she, along with members of the board, agreed the material, content, ideas and language are not acceptable for children. When another speaker questioned how books are reviewed, Superintendent Wendy Benton said the librarians in the schools are generally responsible but when there is a question about a particular book or other material it is reviewed by a committee made up of parents, teachers, school board members and administrators. Based on the portions that the parent read she said the particular book in question is not acceptable, with members of the Board agreeing with her.
Another speaker questioned how district personnel are screened before they are hired. It should be noted that any and all employees from part-time to full-time bus drivers to custodians to coaches and teachers, in short anyone who has contact with children, must be cleared by what is known as the Act 34 Clearance which is a procedure prospective employees and volunteers must submit at their own expense through the Pennsylvania State Police.
A seventh grade student also spoke to the board about a particular book she had checked out of the Middle School library which she said caused her to show the book to her mother. It contained both language and content which she said she did not want to be exposed to.
Benton and members of the Board all agreed that they will do more to look into the library books and assured the audience that closer screening may be needed. Board member Robert Wachob asked one of the speakers to get a list of books by a particular author to the superintendent.
During the student representative item in the agenda, the student representative pointed out a program known as “Beaver Buddies” where a student at the High School becomes a “Beaver Buddy” with a special needs student. A more detailed article about this program will soon follow in Reynlow Community News after this reporter interviews the teacher and students involved with the program.
The board also voted to hire Rebecca Rae as a Title I instructor at Wasson Elementary School, effective November 1 for the rest of the school year. A number of individuals were also hired for Spring Sports including Dennis Nosker for head coach varsity softball, Matt Roush for Middle School head coach softball, Jason Gustafson for head coach boys volleyball, Joshua Reed for boys tennis, Brian Clinger for head coach boys track, and Scott Sullivan for head coach girls track.