The Tennessee Conservative [By Paula Gomes] –
The Williamson County School Board voted Monday night to keep books, that some in the community deemed inappropriate, on school library shelves.
Board members voted 8 to 2 to keep five books that had been challenged – Speak, Perks of Being a Wallflower, The Field Guide to the North American Teenager, Where the Crawdads Sing, and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.
The two no votes came from conservative board members Dan Cash and Donna Clements who were endorsed by Williamson Families PAC. The PAC was founded in 2021 to encourage and support conservative Williamson County residents to run for county office.
Earlier this year, a district committee recommended keeping the books in school libraries. Members of the community and some board members feel the decision to keep them available to students violates the state’s Age Appropriate Act.
During Monday night’s meeting, Clements said, “My concern, and I think there’s been a lot of confusion going back and forth about book bans, what we are allowed to do, what we aren’t allowed to do. We took an oath of office to follow state law. And we have a state law that we have not really paid attention to, and I’m concerned, we need to follow the state law.”
Trisha Lucente accused the board of providing pornographic materials to children by keeping the books.
“Our taxpayer-funded public-school libraries should not contain explicit, violent, and pornographic material that offers no educational value,” said Lucente. “Removing a book from a school library or restricting access via mature reading list is not book banning.”
Parents in Williamson County currently have the choice to opt-in or opt-out of books that their children have access to in school libraries.
At a prior work session, Donna Clements, Dan Cash, Jay Galbreath, and Josh Brown all looked likely to vote against keeping the books. While Galbreath ended up voting to keep them, Brown abstained from voting altogether.
Brown, a Vice President of state government relations for Pfizer, was voted in as interim school board member or Williamson County’s District 4 in October 2021 and won the election to retain the seat in 2022. Odd numbered districts for school board are up for re-election in 2024.
Prior to Monday night’s meeting, school board members were bombarded with emails from Williamson County residents who threatened possible legal action if the board voted to remove any books from the district.
Watch the meeting below:
About the Author: Paula Gomes is a Tennessee resident and reporter for The Tennessee Conservative. You can reach Paula at email@example.com.