In Canada, the Peel School District in Mississauga, Ontario, has removed all books printed prior to 2008. This literary removal was done in an effort to create a more inclusive environment for the students.
The directive, issued by the school district, states the removal of the books will be based on several factors. The two main factors are an effort to remove any books that do not promote inclusiveness or cultural responsiveness.
This removal includes textbooks, classical literature, and general reading options for the students. This greatly reduces the number of reading materials and resources at the school district’s disposal.
When questioned about the choice, the school district attempted to defend their stance. In a statement released by the school board, it was noted that this had always been part of the standards for the district. It was also stated these standards were up to the librarians to maintain.
“Books published prior to 2008 that are damaged, inaccurate, or do not have strong circulation data (are not being checked out by students) are removed,” the school board continued, adding that older books will remain in the libraries if they are determined to be “accurate, serve the curriculum, align with board initiatives, and are responsive to student interest and engagement.”
This statement comes as a great shock to many proponents of classical education in the school system. By the school district’s definition, classical literature is considered to not have strong circulation data. Reference materials used for reports and other language arts learning will also be removed.
A question many parents and education supporters ask is who decides what books will stay and which ones will go. Though the district states it is the librarian’s job to maintain the so-called ongoing standards of the district, determinations should be linked to some checklist.
It would appear there is none. When questioned about the procedure, removal, and reasoning the school district seemed to have no other response other than the blanketed removal of the books.
Education supporters are now concerned that the removal of the books will begin to spread into other districts. They are also concerned this removal will leave a severe lack of educational resources for history and other subjects.
The results of such a removal will be far-reaching. The dent the removal will leave in students’ education across the district will also be felt for decades to come.