Northridge parent group raises concern about books | News | – Goshen News

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Mostly cloudy. Low 27F. Winds N at 5 to 10 mph.
Updated: January 13, 2022 @ 5:44 pm
Goshen, Indiana
Two of the books in question by members of Northridge Area Parents Association “Everybody Sees The Ants” and “The Infinite Moment of Us” are shown Wednesday.

News Editor
Two of the books in question by members of Northridge Area Parents Association “Everybody Sees The Ants” and “The Infinite Moment of Us” are shown Wednesday.
MIDDLEBURY — Pam Keyser is concerned about certain books at the school library.
“We want parents to be aware of the illicit material available to their children in the schools,” Keyser said by email. “We need our legislators to end minors’ access to illicit materials in school.”
On Jan. 4, Middlebury Community School Board members voted to allow “Out of the Darkness” by Ashley Hope Perez, “Everybody Sees the Ants” by A.S. King and “The Infinite Moment of Us” by Lauren Myracle to be checked out by MCS students. The first two titles received two board member votes to remove them, and the third received one, according to a news release, which also stated that they can only be checked out with “active parent permission.”   
Keyser is the head of Northridge Area Parents Association, and in her view these books contain “inappropriate materials including pornography, profanity and racism.”
“These books are inconsistent with providing a moral and wholesome learning environment for our children and have no place in our schools,” Keyser said.
Keyser added that her group is currently lobbying state senators for the passage of SB17 which ends the exemption loophole protections allowing public schools and libraries to offer illicit materials to minors.
“However, there is a loophole via the Obscenity Exemption Statute that shields Indiana administrators and teachers from arrest and prosecution when showing illegal obscenity to a minor,” Keyser said. “We need our legislators to eliminate this loophole. Closing the obscenity loophole is also addressed in Senate Bill 167 and House Bill 1134. However, due to the complexity of Senate Bill 167 and House Bill 1134, the obscenity protections for minors deserve to stand alone in a separate bill such as SB 17.”
Apart from action at the legislative level, Keyser believes school boards need to step up and end student access to this material.
“Minors obtaining obscene materials with parental consent leads to an increased presence on our school campuses,” she said. “Tax dollars should never be spent on materials which meet the legal definition for obscenity and would otherwise be subject to arrest and prosecution when distributed to a minor. We must insist on stopping this material from being made available to our children.”
Kate Hummel is MCS Board of Trustees president.
“Parents are able to access a complete listing of books in the school library through a digital link provided on the school’s website,” Hummel said by email Wednesday. “Middlebury Community Schools has a policy that allows a parent to file a complaint about material they find questionable. Upon receipt of a complaint, the principal must appoint a review committee to evaluate the material and make a recommendation. The parent may appeal the school’s decision, requiring board members to review the case and make a final determination about the challenged materials.”
Hummel verified that a parent disagreed with the committee’s decisions and appealed to the board.
“Board members reviewed the complaint, and then discussed and voted during the regularly scheduled board meeting on Jan. 4,” she said. “While the books were rated for ‘young adult,’ the board understood the parent’s original concern about a few questionable pages, and therefore decided to remove the books from circulation. As a result, students may no longer access any of the questioned library books without signed parental consent.”
Steve Wilson is news editor for The Goshen News. You can reach him at [email protected].

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