Fauquier Co. school board narrows who can challenge library books

Not everybody agrees which books should be on school library shelves — and now, one Virginia school system wants to make sure disagreements are being voiced by families with children in their school.

The Fauquier County School Board has voted unanimously to specify that only a student, a parent or a guardian can file a formal challenge to a book or other material in a school library.

Until now, special interest groups could challenge books contained in a school’s library.

Last year, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin signed a law requiring parents be notified in advance if instructional materials in class would include sexually explicit material.

Parents would have the right to ask a teacher to use different books or content. However, the policy did not apply to books that students could access in school libraries.

Last year, parental rights group Moms for Liberty filed several unsuccessful challenges to have books removed from school libraries, claiming the content was inappropriate for young people.

The new policy for challenging library books is now similar to that in challenging in-class materials, according to the agenda item:

“It is recognized that occasional objections to library books and library resources may arise and be challenged by a Fauquier County Public Schools’ student, parent or legal guardian. The same procedures for filing a complaint regarding Instructional or Supplementary materials will be followed for filing a complaint regarding library books or library resources.”

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a general assignment reporter with WTOP since 1997. He says he looks forward to coming to work every day, even though that means waking up at 3:30 a.m.

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