When the Cody School Board makes a decision on a library book or resource complaint, it will be binding for one year.
Revisions to policies on books and learning resources were approved unanimously on third reading Monday at the regular Cody School Board meeting.
The determination that a complaint against a book cannot be brought up within a year of a decision on it was one of the final changes made to the policy regulating the KEC committee, which reviews complaints on resources.
With the revisions approved, the new KEC committee can now hear complaints on both library books and classroom learning resources.
However, the Cody School Board will always have final say on proposed learning resources before approving their purchase. For a current resource such as a library book, the KEC decision could be appealed to the board by the complainant.
The language was worked out before the final vote – trustee Scott Weber was absent – as initially it read the KEC decision was binding, something multiple trustees objected too.
“I will not be bound by the KEC committee,” trustee William Struemke said.
The language was changed to give only the board the power to make a binding decision. It also makes clear the option for a complainant to appeal a KEC decision to trustees for a final vote.
“If they don’t agree, they can come to the board,” trustee Jenni Rosencranse said.
Still, trustees by and large said the hope is most complaints won’t make it all the way to the board.
The board last took action on a library book early in the year, when they voted to removed “A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl,” by Tanya Lee Stone. Following the vote the board also instituted a new program whereby parents are notified via email what books their children are checking out at school.
With new district librarian Jennisen Lucas, trustees revised the policy to accommodate library books and added both language from nationwide library standards on when to remove books, as well as a part they crafted themselves to allow KEC committee members the right to deny a book based on it pervasive vulgarity, unsuitability for a particular age and other criteria.
The sentence in the policy reads, “To place materials that will be age and grade-level appropriate, relevant, educationally suitable, and free of pervasive vulgarity and obscenity.”