Sumner School Board Votes to Keep Controversial Book in School Libraries

Advocate Andy

Board action defies request of Sumner County Commission

The Sumner County School Board last night voted in favor of keeping "A Place Inside of Me" on the bookshelves in the school system's library. The move comes following a complaint that the book violates a new state law around objectionable content. Seven members (out of 11) voted in favor of keeping the book.

The vote on the library book - an award-winning illustrated book by Zetta Elliott - took place after a public hearing featuring speakers both for and against the text.

The School Board's action came just one night after the Sumner County Commission passed a resolution calling for the book to be removed from school libraries.

That resolution said the book contained objectionable content, including "hatred of police, overthrow of the government, destruction of the nuclear family, and communism."

This was the second hearing conducted by the School Board on the book. The first took place last month, following a review of the book by a review committee. That committee recommended that the book be allowed to remain in libraries. At the first hearing, 5 of 8 members present voted to keep the book, but six votes are needed for a final decision. That result necessitated the second hearing.

While the fate of "A Place Inside of Me" has now been decided, the County Commission has also raised objections to a second book, Dragonwings, by Laurence Yep. The School Board has yet to schedule a hearing on that text.

For its part, the County Commission says it will be conducting a thorough review of school library books and taking further action if it deems such action is necessary.

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Andy Spears is a middle Tennessee writer and policy advocate. He reports on news around public policy issues - education, health care, consumer protection, and more.

Nashville, TN
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