Currently, there are 11 literary works that remain off the shelves of Duval County Public School libraries due to past protests from concerned citizens, but Superintendent Nikolai Vitti said adding more works to that list would set a bad precedent.
“We are walking up a slippery slope when we start to decide what books we are going to ban from the curriculum,” he said.
Yet, this week administrators at Duval County Public Schools received a petition from several citizens protesting the use of two new books added last month to the third-grade reading list: “Nasreen’s Secret School” and “The Librarian of Basra” both said to be based on the true stories from the Middle East.
Those opposed to having them available in Duval Schools argue the books’ serious content, which details war and makes references to Islam aren’t appropriate for elementary-age children, while those on the other side like Vitti believe it will open children’s minds to a diversity of ideas.
The profile of the growing opposition was raised when a Facebook post recently went viral following the Duval School Board’s decision to approve a list of new supplemental reading material for the 2015-16 school year.
The Facebook post, which addresses parents of elementary students in the district, advises that students will be required to “read two books, promoting prayer to someone other than God.”
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