199 titles OK'd for schools, but not a book on King

June 06, 1993|By Anne Haddad | Anne Haddad,Staff Writer

A council of Carroll County parents who screen books for the school board is recommending approval for all but one of 200 books proposed for classroom use.

"If You Lived at the Time of Martin Luther King," which some parents said stereotypes white people, was the only one that got a majority of "no" votes from the approximately 50 parents who voted, said Gary Dunkleberger, director of curriculum for county schools. He also chairs the Curriculum Council, the formal name of the book-screening panel.

The council met May 20, but members had until last week to mail in their ballots. At the meeting, parents who raised concerns about the Martin Luther King Jr. book said the book doesn't represent white people who supported the civil rights movement. All the parents at the meeting were white.

The book, by Ellen Levine, says on the second page: "It is the story of blacks and their white supporters working together to make a better world for themselves and their children."

It later mentions support from Presidents Kennedy and Johnson.

The school board meets at 9 a.m. Wednesday in Room 271 at the Courthouse Annex, 55 N. Court St. in Westminster, to vote on approving books and other issues.

The Curriculum Council meets every spring to vote on all books )) that will be used in the classroom and ordered in large quantities. Library books go through a separate process.

Parents and staff read the books, which are available to them at the Resource Center at Westminster High School, then meet to approve them.

Dr. Dunkleberger said the policy always has been the same: If even one parent has a concern about a book, the book is pulled for a separate vote. At the end of the meeting, all other books are approved in one vote.

This year, parents asked to pull eight books. Aside from the King book, the other seven passed easily, Dr. Dunkleberger said.

The seven books were questioned by a few parents at the meeting for various reasons, such as dealing with magic, siblings who don't get along, stereotypes of women and girls, and the exclusion of religion in a book about Thanksgiving.

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