Beverly Cleary, Louis Sachar, Roald Dahl ... Rush Limbaugh?
Last week, local mom Jess Coppedge was alarmed to find that her son’s fourth-grade class at a CCSD elementary school was reading Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims: Time-Travel Adventures With Exceptional Americans, a children’s book by the controversial conservative commentator.
According to Coppedge, her son’s class reads a different chapter book each week, and Rush Revere was a suggestion from a parent of another child in the class.
“There’s never been anything political,” says Coppedge. “It’s always been The Hardy Boys or Captain Underpants—age-appropriate books.” Considering Limbaugh’s well-publicized slurs against gays and women, Coppedge doesn’t think schoolchildren of any age should be reading anything associated with him.
Avoiding controversial issues is something CCSD teachers are “asked to do,” according to Deena Holloway, CCSD Coordinator for Literacy and Innovative Programs. “Although classroom teachers do have the opportunity to choose materials [like] additional novels … What teachers are asked to do, however, is to be an impartial moderator,” Holloway says, “certainly when you’re working with political literature.”
Holloway says CCSD parents upset with a book choice can start by arranging a conference with the teacher, and sometimes an alternative book is assigned, if possible. Parents can also ask for a book to be reviewed by the school’s Library Media Center Committee, after which it may remain in a classroom or the school’s library, be removed or only be circulated with parental permission. After following this process at the school level, parents can request a district-wide review by a committee formed through CCSD’s Library Services division.
Coppedge believes the whole process could be avoided if parents were involved from the start. “Something like that I think you should send a note home to the parents, maybe, and ask them: Would it be okay for your child to read this?”