The Cody School Board voted 5-1 to ban Tanya Stone’s A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl from district libraries. In banning the book, the board trustees ignored a review committee recommendation to keep the book. The board also voted to implement library software that would notify parents of their children’s reading habits unless the parents opt out of the notifications.
In early November, a parent complained about sexual content in the book, demanding its removal from the school library. The district convened a review committee to consider the book. Unfortunately, district policy gives a greater number of seats on the committee to parents / patrons (5) than to educators (3) in the district. Further, the committee does not include librarians, a composition that potentially undermines the judgement and expertise of librarians and teachers. Regardless, the committee voted 7-2 to keep the book.
During the February 20 school board meeting, trustee Scott Weber called A Bad Boy “trashy” and seemed to invite parents to make more challenges to materials in district libraries, saying “There’s more to come.”
Trustee William Struemke read out-of-context passages during the meeting, and alleged that members of the review committee made the decision to keep the book without having read the material.
Trustee Tom Keegan was the lone dissenter, using the slippery slope argument to oppose the ban. “Where do you stop?” he asked.
Elementary school librarian Jennifer Lucas defended the book during the comment period, noting that while the book may not be appropriate for many students, for some it may be “just what they need to get through a tough time.”
CBLDF joined the Kids’ Right to Read Project in defending the book, reminding administrators of their obligation to keep reading material available. At no point should the personal views of one person or the board itself interfere with the availability of materials in district libraries. The Cody School Board has violated the First Amendment rights of students in the district by banning the book.