April 08, 2020

Orono school panel OKs policy on books

ORONO – The school committee on Tuesday unanimously approved a revision of the policy dealing with educational materials that parents may deem controversial.

The newly revised policy makes it clear that the school committee has the final say about whether educational materials may be removed permanently from the curriculum, Superintendent Kelly Clenchy said Wednesday.

According to the new wording, a review committee consisting of the school principal, a teacher from the subject area of the material in question, the school librarian and a community member would be responsible for making a recommendation to the school committee.

The school committee then would have the final decision-making authority about the materials.

As part of the policy, parents are entitled to have their children use an alternative resource if they feel uncomfortable with the materials being used.

Clenchy said the revisions were prompted by a situation last February when the

suitability of “Girl, Interrupted,” a book being read by freshman English classes at Orono High School, was questioned.

Policies are designed to be clear, he said, “but a true test of a policy is when it is used in a particular situation.”

“School committees as part of their regular duties review policies on an ongoing basis to ensure that they meet the current needs of the school system,” he added.

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