During Covid-19 school shutdowns, parents, thanks to online classes, became more aware of materials, both instructional and casual, in their children’s schools. Walker County mother Jennifer Smeiles was inspired to research what was in her county’s school libraries.
What Smeiles discovered concerned her enough that she plans to present her findings to the Walker County Board of Education at its June 20 meeting.
“There are books,” says Smeiles, “that couldn’t be legally read out loud on television or at school board meetings because they would be considered too explicit or vulgar.”
Smeiles does not plan to simply complain at the school board meeting. She has compiled lists of objectionable books carried in each Walker County school’s library, as well as reviews of most of the books and links to research that outlines ways in which sexually explicit stories and materials have a negative impact on children in the short-term and the long run.
“I will be printing out some of the reviews and excerpts,” says Smeiles, “of the most vulgar books and books that represent the different types of inappropriate content to give to school board members.”
In Smeiles’ presentation, each of the elementary schools in Walker County has only one or two books listed. The lists grow longer for middle schools (including Saddle Ridge, which is K-8) and longer yet for high schools; Ridgeland High School’s list is over 40 books.