Submitted by Capitol Resource Institute –
The Clarksville Montgomery County School System (CMCSS) in Tennessee has recently made an audacious decision to align with the American Library Association’s (ALA) Library Bill of Rights.
Despite growing calls from parental rights groups and state commissions to disassociate with the progressive ALA, the CMCSS has taken the opposite approach and is embracing the radical policies of the ALA.
In their updated policy released on April 4, 2023, the CMCSS explicitly stated their commitment to the principles laid out in the ALA’s Library Bill of Rights. This decision showcases the CMCSS’s disregard for Tennessee law and the community they supposedly serve.
The controversy deepens as earlier this month it was discovered that contrary to state law, CMCSS provided a teacher training that taught students that “white” and “Christian” people are privileged while “a person of color” and someone who is “polyamorous” are oppressed.
Karen England, President of Capitol Resources Institute and Take Back the Classroom, expressed concern about the direction CMCSS is taking.
“The alignment with the ALA’s agenda raises questions about whether the school district truly respects the legislative decisions made by our elected representatives,” England said. “The presence of so many controversial books within CMCSS’s library collection also raises eyebrows among concerned parents and the community.”
Tennessee’s 2022 enactment of the Age-Appropriate Materials Act was intended to address the issue of explicit and inappropriate content in school libraries. The Act mandated that all school districts, including CMCSS, ensure that library materials are suitable for the age and maturity levels of students and uphold the educational mission of the school.
“For years the public has been advocating for the televised broadcast of board of education meetings to ensure public accountability and transparency,” England adds.
“However, it appears that our district remains the only one in the country that has not yet embraced this technological advancement. Maybe it is because they don’t want their constituents to know what they are doing.”
With the Tennessee Department of Education providing guidance on compliance, there are serious concerns that CMCSS’s alignment with the ALA’s progressive values are in direct conflict with the Tennessee law.
Is your school district following the law or the ALA?
Tennessee law states districts must ensure the library collection is appropriate for the age and maturity levels of the students who may access the materials, and suitable for, and consistent with, the educational mission of the school.
CMCSS’s policy is in clear violation as according to the ALA, they oppose all attempts to restrict access to library services, materials, and facilities based on the age of library users.
The American Library Association supports equal and equitable access to all library resources and services by users of all ages. Library policies and procedures that effectively deny minors equal and equitable access to all library resources and services available to other users is in violation of the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights. The American Library Association opposes all attempts to restrict access to library services, materials, and facilities based on the age of library users.