Hermon Schools vote against parent-led book rating system

Published: Jan. 9, 2023 at 11:18 PM EST
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HERMON, Maine (WABI) - The Hermon School Committee voted 5-1 Monday night not to include a rating system proposed by a group of parents concerned with the content available in school libraries.

The group identified more than 80 books on Hermon’s middle and high school shelves that they say feature explicit sexual content.

They argue these are not suitable for educational purposes and feature content they say people would be arrested for giving to a minor outside a school.

Others called it a form of censorship unbecoming of a public school, and some students explained how these books raised their awareness of sexual violence.

”One thing the school must do in addition to teaching our children is to protect and provide a safe environment in which they can learn,” one resident said. “Sexualizing our children at young ages in no way meets that standard.”

“Removing access is censorship,” another resident said. “These books are not dangerous. Removing them may make you feel better, you think your children are now safe from these ‘ideas.’”

A member of the “concerned parents” group said they will be taking further action, but declined to say how so before they can meet.

The current system allows parents to opt their children out of particular books, and also allows for individual books to be challenged.

Superintendent Micah Grant suggested filtering books that include sexual content, drug use, violence and other categories on the school’s website to improve the opt-out process.