Parents want book out of MVES libraryThe Farmington School District’s re-evaluation committee was scheduled to meet Wednesday afternoon to decide whether a book about a same-sex penguin couple belongs in the library at Meadowview Elementary School.
By: Nathan Hansen, The Farmington Independent
The Farmington School District’s re-evaluation committee was scheduled to meet Wednesday afternoon to decide whether a book about a same-sex penguin couple belongs in the library at Meadowview Elementary School.
The book, “And Tango Makes Three,” is a children’s picture book that tells the true story of a pair of male chinstrap penguins that hatched an egg and raised a young penguin at New York’s Central Park Zoo.
Parents Steve and Tammy VanWinkle raised an objection to the book in February after their kindergarten son checked it out of the library.
“The subject matter of this book is very controversial with reference to the alternative lifestyle of homosexuality,” the couple wrote in a resource reevaluation request filed Feb. 10. “We feel very strongly a topic such as sexual preference does not belong in a library where it can be obtained by young elementary students.”
The VanWinkles said they believe it’s a parent’s responsibility to teach their children about such topics.
“And Tango Makes Three,” which is written for 4- to 8-year-olds, was at the top of the American Library Association’s list of most challenged books in both 2006 and 2007.
The couple hasn’t asked that the book be removed from the school entirely, but that it at least be placed in a counselor’s office or in an area where the school can require parental approval before a student is allowed to check it out.
“Although controversial and sensitive subject matter, we feel the book would be very helpful to specific children,” they wrote.
When someone objects to a library book or other material used in the district the district’s reevaluation committee reviews the item in question as well as reviews. It then holds a public hearing to let residents have their say. That hearing was originally scheduled for Feb. 26 but heavy snow forced a delay. The meeting was rescheduled for 3:30 p.m. March 4 at the Farmington High School little theater.
The meeting took place too late for this issue of the Independent.
“Any resource can be challenged, whether it’s a movie a teacher shows or a textbook,” said Rosalyn Pautzke, the district’s administrative services director and a member of the reevaluation committee.
Often the district is able to address concerns about instructional materials by providing alternate materials for children whose parents object. Pautzke said this is only the third time in her 13 years in the district there has been a hearing about removing a book.