Roanoke County School leaders expected to vote on book regulations

ROANOKE, Va. – The Roanoke County School Board is expected to vote Thursday night on its book regulations.

Roanoke County Schools Superintendent Dr. Ken Nicely said the goal is to have more people review books that may be considered inappropriate for students.

“What we’re asking them to do is use a local lens and look at material ourselves,” Nicely said.

The goal of the updated reading regulations is to help empower school librarians to choose appropriate books.

School leaders said there is now more than one person who decides which books are suitable for students in the proposed regulations.

A group of librarians will meet after reading the books and decide which are suitable to be in the school’s library.

“We believe in collaboration, we think our librarians are experts, they are experts, they have master’s degrees and they are trained in the book selection process,” Nicely said.

The change stemmed from last November when a parent challenged the school’s current regulations regarding the book When Aidan Became my Brother, which discusses transgender topics.


Leaders said when they looked at the original policy, they realized it was outdated with only one person with the power to decide which books can be in the school’s collection.

“There was clearly some outdated language, though said one man decision should be avoided and obviously that is antiquated language,” Nicely said.

The president of the Roanoke County Education Association sent WSLS a statement that said, “Many students want newly released titles, and the proposed process will result in fewer new books that take longer to reach the shelves. The requirement to read and write a review for every single title added will have a detrimental impact on our librarians’ time while decreasing students’ access to new books.”

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