September 19, 2023 at 5:11 p.m.
CCS Board Votes to Restrict Access to Book
They came with signs; they quoted scripture; they preached; they prayed; one of the speakers accused the schools of 'promoting a perverse ideology that's destroying our nation.' One Tea Party member reflected on the 2022 school board election, "we put up four candidates and three of them won!" One woman who said she was a former teacher and now home-schooled her child used the occasion to promote a book she had written, then spent the remainder of her three minutes allowed for each speaker to pray for the schools.
The event was a special called meeting of the Catawba County Board of Education to decide whether or not the novel "Monday's Not Coming" should remain available in school libraries. [It was said that it's currently available in three of the six Catawba County Schools high school libraries.]
"Monday's Not Coming" is a novel about the mystery of one teenage girl's (Monday Charles) disappearance and the traumatic effects of learning about events that led to her death by her friend Claudia. The book, published in 2018 by author Tiffany Jackson, contains sections of sexually explicit content and makes use of profanity including use of the f-word. Jackson said she based her novel on the stories of two real-life missing kids like Monday, whose cases were not investigated.
The book was one of 24 board member Michelle Teague asked to have removed from CCS libraries.
Some of those 24 books are still being reviewed by a schools committee that includes librarians, teachers, students and others. Once that committee makes its decision about a 'challenged' book, those who disagree can appeal that decision to a district committee; and finally, if still not satisfied with the decision, to the Board of Education.
Teague was dissatisfied with the decision about five books and asked for further review. At another special called meeting last month, the Board decided to remove one of those books, "Out of Darkness," but kept another, "Beyond Magenta."
"Out of Darkness," by Ashley Hope Perez is a novel that chronicles a love affair between a teenage Mexican-American girl and a teenage African-American boy in 1930s Texas. It was removed because of its graphic description of sex acts.
"Beyond Magenta" by Susan Kuldin documents the stories of six teenagers who consider themselves transgender or gender neutral.
Teague asked for the Board to consider removing "Monday's Not Coming."
After three and a half hours listening to the arguments about the book and other comments including political threats to members of the Board, the decision was made on a 4-3 vote to keep the book but limit access to it to those 18 or older.
Teague was one of the three who voted against that motion.
Since most high school students don't turn 18 until later in their senior year, the decision essentially removes access to the book in school libraries.
The Catawba County Library System does not have print copies of "Monday's not Coming" in its branches. The book can be accessed online with a valid library card via Hoopla, a digital book app used by the library system and public libraries across the country. Hoopla has a “kids mode” feature that, if used, blocks access to content recommended for ages 13 and older. The Catawba County Library System requires a parent signature to issue library cards to anyone age 17 and under. "Monday's Not Coming" is also available online from Amazon in paperback, kindle or audible versions.