The truth will cost us $1608!

The Guilford Board of Education defends the presence of sexually explicit and sexually graphic books, in our school libraries (“It’s Perfectly Normal”, “Flamer”, “Lawn Boy” and “Me, Earle and the Dying Girl”). These books depict and describe sexual acts between 4th graders, children masturbating, sexual violence, and deviant sexual acts. Parents who questioned this decision were labeled “book banners”. Superintendent, Paul Freeman, even publicly admonished these parents as “manufacturing and feigning outrage”. However, evidence points to actual book banning by Guilford a public schools. 7 Dr. Seuss titles were removed from our elementary school library in 2021 without public knowledge. I have requested all public records regarding this event.

Dear Board of Education,

According to Guilford’s Follett Destiny Library,
there are 7 Dr. Seuss titles that are inexplicably missing from Melissa Jones’s library since 2021.

“If I Ran the Zoo”,
“Scrambled Eggs Super!”,
“McElligot’s Pool”,
“And To Think I Saw It On Mulberry Street”,
“On Beyond Zebra”, “Six By Seuss”
and
“A Hatful of Suess”,

As you know, the use and safe keeping of the school libraries is the sole responsibility of the BOE. Therefore, it’s to be expected that the Board will conduct a full investigation into the unpublicized removal of these titles.

In his most recent email to the entire school district entitled “Book Banning”, Paul Freeman writes,

“As waves of book banning spread across the country, the demand to remove books from our shelves or restrict student access to books has come to Guilford.”

It looks as though it came as early as 2021 and not by the people you are falsely accusing of trying to ban books.

Freeman also writes that certain events seem,

“…to suggest that the outrage associated with these texts has been intentionally manufactured if not feigned, and appears not to be of strictly local origin.”

“The responsibility and the goal of our district and our educators is to provide a wide variety of materials that have been selected by professionals through our established procurement process for our entire school community.”

“To be sure, some titles contain strong language and depict difficult (often realistic) situations which may be hard for some to confront. That does not make the content inappropriate. We believe students deserve to have access to these diverse and challenging materials.“


On the most recent cover of the Guilford Courier, you, Kathleen Balestracci, speak on behalf of the entire board,

“the board recognizes the student’s right to free access to many different types of materials, and the board is disinclined to remove such access.”

And according to you Kathleen,

Guilford’s school system is unlikely to ban any titles in the near future and would not cater to a growing trend in other states and districts that are choosing to remove certain books from circulation in their school libraries.
“The board is committed to providing a high-quality education and a safe, supportive, and welcoming school environment to all students. We are aware that there are other communities across our country where limitations on educational offerings and book access related to the experience of these minority communities have been implemented. These actions stand in stark contrast to this board’s commitment to diversity, equity inclusion, and to our goal of striving for educational excellence,”


“If I Ran the Zoo”,
“Scrambled Eggs Super!”,
“McElligot’s Pool”,
“And To Think I Saw It On Mulberry Street”,
“On Beyond Zebra”,

are 5 of 6 titles that made national headlines in 2021 for being deemed “hurtful and wrong” by Dr Seuss Enterprises. The publisher also announced that these titles would no longer be published.


“Six By Seuss”
and
“A Hatful of Suess”,

are compilation books that each include one of these “recalled” books.

Coincidentally, in 2021, these SAME 7 TITLES became no longer “available” at Melissa Jones Elementary School, Town of Guilford.

Guilford’s Follett Destiny Library catalog reveals ONLY these barcoded and catalogued Suess books simultaneously became unavailable to Melissa Jones students with due dates of October 21, 2021, just months after they made national headlines.


Out of 62 catalogued Seuss books in the Melissa Jones Library, the only other three Seuss books that are categorized as not “available”,
“The Tooth Book”
“Hop on Pop” and
“There’s a Wocket in My Pocket”,
have 2023 due dates. And any lost titles are referenced as such.

Both Freeman and Balestracci have referred to the Board of Education policy (6334), “which provides a vehicle for any community member to ask that the Board review any title.”

Was this vehicle used to reconsider these books?

In light of these events, an official FOIA request has been made regarding these 7 titles.

I will await your prompt explanation as this information will prove to be very valuable to the community at large.

Danielle

Organizer

Danielle Scarpellino
Organizer
Guilford, CT

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