Collier school district responds to parent concerns over inappropriate books

Published: June 5, 2015 7:01 PM EDT
Updated: June 5, 2015 7:02 PM EDT

COLLIER COUNTY, Fla.- Collier County Public Schools is responding to a parent organizations concerns about inappropriate books in school libraries.

WINK News found out some of the books in question have been in the libraries for 20 years.

“This isn’t like three titles that were issued in the last year that all of a sudden somebody said ‘wow,’ I mean these have been here for a long period of time,” said Greg Turchetta, a spokesman for the district.

He said the books Killing Mr. Griffin and Beloved: A Novel have been in school libraries for two decades.

“If a books been in our library since 1995 and it hasn’t received a complaint, the question then becomes we can talk about any title we want to talk about, but to whose standard are we gonna judge whether it’s appropriate or not.”

On Thursday, the organization parents ROCK pointed out four books they said are highly inappropriate for school children.

David Bolduc said, “they have graphic and sexual content, graphic violence, violence with women both physically and verbally and bestiality.”

Turchetta said the group has not filed a formal complaint about the books. “If you look at how we review our books, just because there’s a sexual incident in a book it doesn’t disqualify it from being in a school library.”

“Some of the books in question won a Pulitzer prize,” said Turchetta. Those would include The Bluest Eye, Beloved: A Novel and Dreaming In Cuban.

“If they read a book that’s questionable or have a question about the title, it starts at the school and it works it’s way up.”

Turchetta said the district is open to discussing the books that they have in the school libraries with parents.

“But it needs to be done through the process and the process is clear. If we didn’t have a procedure to address this, then I would understand that frustration but we do and any parent is free to come through that process.”

Turchetta said they are going to have their media specialist go back and look at the selection of books they have in the schools because it is a community decision.

Bolduc tells WINK News this is a step in the right direction. He would like to see the district more proactive in this situation rather than being reactive.