GALWAY, NY (NEWS10) – A measure that would have banned books in the Galway Central School District was dismissed in a packed Education Committee meeting Monday night. Parishioners flocked to show their support for the addition of two books to the district curriculum.
The 57 Bus is a non-fiction book about a transgender person experiencing a hate crime. Ink Knows No Borders is a collection of poetry written by immigrant and refugee youth.
A curriculum complaint cited swear words as a reason for the proposed book ban.
Superintendent Brita Donovan says she is proud that so many parishioners have turned out to support the keeping of the books.
“It made me feel wonderful. It's so wonderful to see the involvement of our parents and our students,” said Donovan.
She says teachers are meticulous in selecting their curriculum and undergo a rigorous selection process that meets New York State educational standards.
Many who spoke at the meeting said a vote to ban books would set a dangerous precedent and violate civil liberties.
Although the vote was in her favour, some parents and students – like Arietta Williams – think Monday's vote highlighted some lingering concerns.
“It's very, I don't want to say scary, but it really is. Just because they dictate what we learn and what we take in and absorb and that leaves a world of questions and knowledge open,” Williams said. “It's a very difficult subject.”
Some concerned complaints about the curriculum could be a slippery abyss that could be used to dictate what students can and can't learn.
Williams says she can understand why some parents are concerned, but believes the purpose of the given reading was to give students a deeper understanding of other experiences.
“It's kind of worrying because if in our adult life we experience things like that in real life, then we should be well prepared and ready to take on the world and have that kind of knowledge,” Williams said
Donovan was pleased that two board members had changed their stance on the subject and is pleased to be moving on from the subject.
“And we will come together as a board. It's my job to make sure we move forward positively because there are many wonderful things happening in our school district that weren't reflected in our last two meetings,” said Donovan.