New Kent Charles City Chronicle

News for New Kent County and Charles City County, Virginia | May 18, 2024

Inappropriate book pulled from New Kent Middle School library circulation

By Andre Jones | October 12, 2021 10:19 am

Concern on a book that contained inappropriate material in New Kent Middle School’s library has been pulled from the shelf.

Emily White, a parent of a middle school student, spoke about the incident during New Kent’s School Board meeting Monday night.

White spoke about how the incident began, encountering the reading after her child received it as part of reading for National Hispanic American Heritage Month that was being promoted. White took the issue to social media where she shared her experience after learning about the book, questioning why it was in school libraries.

“Our kids’ innocence is being taken away from them earlier and earlier,” she said during the public comment period. “They are already being exposed to a lot of things through television and social media.”

The book, which remained unnamed to ensure no other student could get to it, contained material that included abuse and child exploitation.

While White thanked New Kent Superintendent of Schools Brian Nichols for quickly addressing the situation and pulling the book from the library’s catalog, her concern remains about what type of books may remain that are inappropriate for students and are within reach of their hands when they check them out from the media center.

“After my post was shared, I have had parents tell me that they are reading books their children are checking out before they can read them,” White added. “One parent told me that she read a book that was about a teenager being sexually exploited and abused. While she said it was a good book, she also believed it was inappropriate for a child that is 12 to 13 years old.”

Tom Miller, who had seen White’s social media post, also commented on the issue.

“What was most upsetting to me was when I called down to the middle school, there was an administrator who asked, ‘What about this book do you find offensive?’” he said.

Miller distributed copies of the excerpt from the book to school board members, something they admitted they have seen.

“I want to know who is involved in choosing these books,” Miller said as he wrapped up his comments on the topic. “How are they going to be held accountable?”

While school board members and Nichols do not respond during public comment period as part of their meeting practices, Nichols has already said they are taking steps in order to address the issue.

“We know there are some things and procedures that we need to update,” he said during the closing comment period at the end of the meeting. “We are forming groups and getting more parental involvement in organizations so that we can do things to address these concerns and issues, such as the one that was talked about tonight during the public comment period.”