(Forsyth County, GA) For much of this year, the Forsyth County School District has dealt with the controversial issue of banning books. FCS banned eight books earlier this year after investigating complaints by parents.
The public outcry over the issue continued during the May 17 Board of Education meeting with many residents expressing concern about the book ban.
Before the public participation started, Board Chairman Wes McCall asked everyone to respect parents' opinions and said he would not allow applause or any other signs of approval or disapproval of a parent's concerns.
The school board meeting room was cleared in March because of a noisy disruption. In April, the discussion took on a more civil tone.
Jere Krischel led off the discussion and offered his perspective as a "liberal atheist."
"I might be fine with my children being exposed to graphic contact, but we need to make sure our government schools respect our community's wide diversity of viewpoints, including conservative Islamic viewpoints," Krischel said.
He said books need to be as bland as possible. He suggested an "opt-in" program for adding books to school libraries featuring liberal and conservative parents evaluating the possible book additions.
Recent Forsyth Central High School graduate Susan Case is studying history at the University of North Georgia and wants to be a teacher, but felt dismayed by recent school board decisions.
"Teachers are under attack,” Case said. “We cannot teach real history. We want respect for our profession. Let teachers teach."
She lamented the removal of books from the curriculum and false information that Critical Race Theory was being taught in the district.
Sawyer Kovacs talked about the mood of the country.
"These are dark times. The United States is reversing 50 years of progressive legislation," Kovacs said.
He said recent legislation passed by the state's General Assembly "whitewashes Black history and bans books harmful to minors."
Kovacs urged students to try and fight "tyranny."
"If you are a student, bring banned books to class and learn the true history of all people," Kovacs added.
Betty Woomer brought the perspective of a 30-year teacher and a Forsyth County grandparent. She said she chose books that offered choices and engendered discussions in her career.
"Books that deal with today's world are sometimes banned because people are upset with language and themes. They use opposition to language to disguise or ignore things with which they disagree," said Woomer.
McCall closed the meeting by thanking the speakers and audience for respecting the rules.
If you have a news tip in Forsyth County, contact John Thompson at firstname.lastname@example.org