RCS Comments On Library Book Removals

Apr 09, 2024 at 03:44 pm by WGNS

Above Left: RCS Communications Dir. James Evans (only fictitious books in above picture)

Murfreesboro, TN - WGNS attempts to give all views about issues that impact this community. In response to the recent allegations regarding the removal of library books without following due process, the Rutherford County Schools clarifies its procedures. 



Rutherford County Schools Chief Communications Officer James Evans said, "There are actually two methods in which library materials can be removed from schools and both are included in our policy."

He explained that the first method derives from a state law that requires school districts to remove obscene materials, and so when there are books with graphic content that can be harmful to children, we are obligated to remove it. If we don’t remove the materials immediately, the law states the librarian can be charged with a misdemeanor. The law is TCA 39-17-901, and it defines what is considered obscene, but it typically involves graphic descriptions of sexual acts or behavior. This is the portion missing from your report, and it is why we have removed certain books from school libraries.

The second way materials can be removed is through a review committee after any parent, student or employee requests for certain materials to be reviewed. You did include this process in your story, but because you didn’t mention the state law, the story alleged that we were not following our own policy and due process.

Evans concluded, "We know removing books is a controversial topic, and we also realize that because of the upcoming school board election, there are some candidates debating the issue. But the school district is not a political agency, and we aim to follow the state law and School Board policies concerning these matters.