As one of the presenters at the LCPSB hearing for the book Jack of Hearts (and other parts), I was understandably disappointed by the hearing results. Although I have serious concerns about how objectively and transparently the prescribed process / regulation (KEF-R) was implemented, those are issues to be addressed another day. The only issue more questionable than the process implementation, however, was the inexplicable determination so peremptorily arrived at by the LCPSB review panel to retain the Jack of Hearts in the Mayfield school library.
Somehow the debate was framed as the protectors of the Constitutionally guaranteed free speech vs the “book banners” when the underlaying issue was anything but that. Absolutely NOBODY was calling for any “banning” of any books; quite to the contrary, those objecting to including the subject book in our school libraries, myself included, are fierce defenders of our 1st Amendment. Rather, the true issue is whether certain materials are appropriate, under any circumstances, to be placed in school libraries – particularly at taxpayer (my) expense.
So, Superintendent Ruiz, the final determination of this issue is up to your discretion and judgment. Here are some materials from BookLook.org to help inform your decision. The BookLook.org mission is to review various potentially objectionable books for the purpose of providing parents information upon which they can make their own informed decisions.
- The Jack of Hearts book was rated by BookLook.org as #5 (Aberrant Content appropriate for Adults only).
- The Book Rating System used by BookLook.org is presented in detail on their website at this link here.
- The BookLook.org website provides excerpted material from the Jack of Hearts (link here) supporting their rating and you will find that those materials are sufficiently salacious and objectionable to any objective parent or administrator to justify that rating (apologies in advance.
Superintendent Ruiz, I urge you to further review and consider the appropriateness of the book Jack of Hearts for any school library in the light of the review rating and review criteria per the links shown above, and also please consider ALL the written and oral materials presented at the hearing.
Now, go forth and do the right thing for the LCPS students, their parents, and the entire LCPS community.