CALL TO ACTION: Parents Severely Outnumbered on Book Review Committee

Dear Las Crucens,

We need your help! Las Cruces Public Schools has re-worked the book review regulations and there are some serious issues with the new versions.

Will you please email the School Board and/or attend the school board meeting on March 19 to make a public comment? See below for more information and potential talking points.

As a result of our efforts, the LCPS Administration was directed by the School Board to revise the book review regulations (KEC (library resources) and KEF (curriculum).

There are many improvements in the updated versions, including increased transparency, random selection of parents on the committee, clear definitions for why books can and cannot be removed from schools, the allowance for discussion/deliberation by the book review committee before the vote is cast, and the fact that the votes are no longer going to be cast anonymously.

Per the new regulations, the book review committees will be:
— KEC: 3 parents, 2 teachers (appointed by NEA), 1 councilor/social worker, 1 school principal, 1 mental health administrator, 1 admin from the Teaching and Learning Division, and 2 students from Student Advisory Council (only for high school level)
— KEF: 3 parents, 4 teachers (appointed by NEA), 1 principal, 1 administrator from Teacher and Learning Division

There are several areas in which we have significant concerns with the new regulations.

Parents are severely outnumbered on the book review committees. Parents will only be 3 out of 9 members on the committees (or 3 out of 11 for Regulation KEC at the high school level). This is even more important considering that the teachers on the committee will be appointed by the NEA (per the bargaining unit agreement).

— Regulation KEC calls for two students to be on the book review committee at the high school level. This could potentially result in students being exposed to age-inappropriate content.

— On Regulation KEC, if the book review committee decides to retain the book with full access, that decision is final and cannot be appealed. At any point, if there is a decision to retain the book, that decision is final with no appeal. This is unbalanced and there should be a full appeal process for both KEC and KEF in order for this process to have integrity.

For more info, you can download both of the new regulations here:

Potential talking points are at the end of this post. Make sure to send individual emails instead of one group email if you want a response. Please be respectful in your communications for the maximum positive impact.

— District 4 Board President Teresa Tenorio: [email protected]
— District 2 Board Vice President Pamela Cort: [email protected] 
— District 1 Board Member Patrick Nolan – [email protected]
— District 3 Board Member Robert Wofford – [email protected]
— District 5 Board Member Ed Frank – [email protected]
— Chief of Staff Shirley O’Brien: [email protected]
— Superintendent Ignacio Ruiz – [email protected]  

All email addresses: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]

There will be a School Board meeting on Tuesday March 19 at 6pm. We need as many people as possible to attend and give comments on this issue.    
WHAT: LCPS Board Meeting   
WHEN: Tuesday March 19 at 6pm   
WHERE: LCPS Administration Building, 505 S Main St, Las Cruces 88001
Here are some potential talking points about this issue. Please do NOT copy-paste these verbatim. Your communications will be most effective if you add in your own words as well. Please be respectful to make the most positive impact.

—Regulations KEC and KEF need to be revised again. Please require these to be revised to make sure that parents have fair representation on the book review committees.
—Parents are severely outnumbered in the book committees in your new Regulations KEC and KEF.
—Parents should comprise at least half of the book review committees so their voices will have at least as much consideration as LCPS.
—Parents are at least as qualified as educators in knowing what is age-appropriate for children. Parents should comprise at least half of the book review committees.
— Your new regulation KEC could result in underage students being exposed to age-inappropriate content. Please remove the students from the book review committee.
—In Regulation KEC, if the book review committee decides to retain the book with full access, that decision is final and cannot be appealed. At any point, if there is a decision to retain the book, that decision is final with no appeal.  This is unfair and seems intended to shield the Superintendent and school board from ever having to vote on keeping a book.  There should be full appeal processes for both regulations KEC and KEF.
—All parents in the school district should have the opportunity to opt-in to be part of the pool of parents from which committee members are chosen. Currently, your new regulations do not have any safeguards to ensure that all parents have a chance to participate in this.  
Thank you for taking action on this!
Sarah Smith and Juan Garcia


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