VICTORY: Review Committee Votes to Keep Book in MN School District

December 4, 2015
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cover-justoneday-renderIn a victory for the freedom to read, a review committee in Rosemount, Minnesota, has voted 7-4 to keep Gayle Forman’s Just One Day in district libraries.

Ben and Kandi Lovin, parents of a sixth grader in Rosemount, Minnesota, demanded the removal of Just One Day, citing “a graphic sex scene, underage drinking [and] date rape” as reasons for the removal. Erin Adler with the Minneapolis-based Star Tribune obtained the Lovins’ written challenge to the book, which demands the removal of the book from all Rosemount – Apple Valley – Eagan public school system libraries, not just the library of the middle school their daughter attends. In the complaint, the Lovins write:

“As a whole this book’s content is not appropriate for middle school, or we believe, even high school students. It covers adult themes … that most students have not been exposed to and should not be provided by the school. It is a novel that has no life lesson to be learned.”

Forman is a New York Times bestselling author, and much of her popular work — including Just One Day — is meant for young adult audiences. Just One Day focuses on a single day in the life of Allyson Healey, a young woman who travels to Europe after graduating from high school. She joins a young man, Willem, in a one-day affair in Paris, and the book follows Allyson as she comes to terms with emotional aftermath of the fling and contends with her first year of college.

A committee comprised of instructors, students, and parents in the system was assembled to review Just One Day. Nathan Hansen with the Rosemount Town Pages covered the review committee’s Thursday night meeting, sharing statements made regarding the challenge. Those in support of the book included secondary media specialist Dawn Lyons, who argued the work as a whole must be considered and pointed out that the book was a YALSA award winner in 2014. Lyons further described the responsibility of media specialists to their communities:

“Media specialists must consider the students and staff population we are serving,” Lyons said. “Our collection must include material for the most mature students as well as the younger students.”

Earlier this week, CBLDF joined the Kids’ Right to Read Project and other freedom to read advocates to defend Just One Day in the district. The letter reminded the review committee that “Removing the book from the library in spite of its clearly recognized value, and in response to subjective complaints about its content, would raise serious First Amendment concerns,” and urged the committee to retain the book.

The Lovins have the option to appeal the review committee’s decision, but reports do not indicate whether they will exercise that right. We’ll be watching the story and will post updates as they become available.

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