BENTONVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Bentonville parents and community members talked about their concerns with certain books in the high school library, while others said the books have been taken out of context during a school board meeting.
Multiple parents spoke about the books that contain explicit sexual content during Tuesday’s board meeting. Lisa Richards said she is a court appointed special advocate and works with kids who come from abusive homes. She said books that make that behavior acceptable shouldn’t be available in schools.
While parent Andrea Placzek, said the books have been taken out of context and are already restricted to older students.
“I feel like if local citizens aren’t paying attention, small groups of loud individuals can pressure elected officials, teachers, and librarians to remove access to valuable literature,” Placzek said.
Jason Maxwell, who is running for Arkansas State House District 12 as a Republican, also spoke on behalf of parents who were concerned about the books at the meeting. He said there needs to be an opt-in program for parents to decide what topics they don’t want their child to read.
“It’s not as much about the books as it is parental rights and the parent’s ability to choose what books they have access to and what books they don’t,” Maxwell said.
While Bentonville School Board President Eric White, said it’s concerning that these books were brought up during political campaign season. He said the books have been in the district since 2017 and have only been checked out about seven times.
“Its pretty clear the books are more popular to try and divide our community than they are our with our kids,” White said.
Bentonville School District has a form in place that allows parents to challenge certain books that they would not like their student to read. Leslee Wright with the district said since that form was enacted in December, there have been no challenge forms submitted.