Northview School Board upholds decision not to ban books

No books will be banned from shelves in the Northview School District after the school board voted Wednesday.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – No books will be banned from the shelves in the Northview School District.

The school board made that decision on Wednesday after a recommendation from a special committee and an appeal from the man who petitioned to have them removed.

The controversy began last year when a man, part of the group “Moms for Liberty,” filed a petition saying books with sexually explicit content were available to students in the school district.

In December, a special committee appointed by the board reviewed the books to see if they met the definition of sexually explicit material and determined that they did not.

The eight books on the list were:

  • Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas
  • Fun Home: A family tragicomic film by Alison Bechdel
  • Push through Sapphire
  • All Boys Are Not Blue by George M Johnson
  • Lawnboy by Jonathan Evison
  • Tricks by Ellen Hopkins
  • Me, Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews
  • Toni Morrison’s bluest eye

On Wednesday, the school board held a special meeting after Cal Morton, who filed the original complaint, appealed in hopes the school board would change the review board’s decision.

Although that wasn’t the case, Cal said he wasn’t surprised by the decision.

“I prayed and hoped that hearts and minds would be changed by the Holy Spirit,” Cal said. “It didn’t happen. So at this point, hopefully some have heard and some will wake up and see that this is destroying our children. It’s destroying the children. That’s the most important thing.”

Also present at the meeting was Cal’s daughter, who disagreed with his position on the eight books his group wanted to ban.

“The Moms for Liberty crowd is on the wrong side of history,” said Cadence Morton. “They’re stuck in their small worldview.”

A statement from Chief Inspector Dr. Christina Hinds reads:

“Northview Public Schools is committed to fostering and maintaining a strong community partnership that we are proud of. As part of this commitment, the Board of Education has carefully established policies, guidelines and procedures designed to assess instructional materials across the district. Thanks to the thorough work of the district’s Book Review Committee and Board of Education, the decision was made to keep the selection of reading books accessible to students as they are now on the shelves. The petitioner’s appeal was dismissed. The district disagrees that none of the eight books in the complaint meet the definition of sexually explicit material harmful to minors when read in their entirety and considered as a whole.

While this matter is now final, we will continue to review our curriculum and board policies regarding study materials to ensure that they meet the needs of our students and community standards. We strive to maintain a culture of collaboration with our community and value the input we receive from our residents as we are all committed to providing a high-quality education to our students.”

All books reviewed by the committee are favorite reading books, meaning students are not required to read them. In high school, the books would only be available in classroom libraries.

Cal told 13 On Your Side that he will meet with his group to find out what comes next.

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