16 Oct

Superintendent Melbye,

It appears that you and Bloomington Public Schools have determined not to follow Policy 606.1 as it pertains to “Procedures for handling questioned materials and controversial issues in curriculum and instruction.” At the Listening Session on October 9, 2023, you described the process of reviewing books being questioned and it deviated greatly from the written policy.  In no other industry I can think of, do executives deviate from policy without a formal amendment to the policy.  I am asking you to please reconsider the actions that will be taken specifically for the review of “sexually explicit materials” that have been identified in the Bloomington schools. Dr. Melbye, have you read any of these 29 books? They are unnecessarily crude and disturbing for a school setting.  There is NO need to have them available in a school library; all of the books are available in a public library and in a bookstore. The students that spoke at the Listening Session are brave, but are you going to base your decisions about the books on student opinion?  We ARE the adults in their lives who are teachers, scientists, psychologists, therapists, and we KNOW that the dark material in these books is damaging to the minds and hearts of the young readers, especially when read without the knowledge and consent of their parents. Dr. Melbye, I ask you to consider the following deviations you proposed, and to return to BPS Policy 606.1 as written, especially for point #2 as concerns the removal of questioned materials from circulation.

Regulation 606.1 / Policy 606.1BPS Interpretation
1. Each concern will be directed to the building principal.Each concern will be directed to a grade level team that will represent all schools in that grade level and be facilitated by Andrew Rummel.· Our parent group requested that each building principal be given the opportunity to agree or disagree with the decisions made by the grade level team.
2. The principal will retain identified materials for use or place them in the reserve section in the school collection until review process is completed.Mr. Rummel will remove identified materials from circulation. When the first book review is initiated, the remainder of the books will be returned to circulation.·         Our parent group noted that per Regulation 606.1, all books are to remain in the reserve section until they are reviewed.  Return a book to circulation upon full completion of the review.
3. Each concern will be recorded on Form 606.1a and presented to the principal, who will appoint a building committee to investigate the questioned materials.Form 606.1a will be used to prioritize review of the books by the date signed. Mr. Rummel will facilitate the appointment of a grade level committee to investigate the questioned materials.

It is understandable that you have created a way to minimize principal duplication of efforts, but it is absolutely unacceptable to allow these questionable materials to remain in circulation while you arrange a budget and a group of employees and volunteers to review the books. Dr. Melbye, I and the other concerned parents in Bloomington will hold you accountable to see that this review process is carried out according to policy.  You clearly have changed the policy, if you determine that the books will only be kept out of circulation when it is their turn to be reviewed.  Form 606.1a has been submitted for 30 books.  We were told by Mr. Rummel on Oct. 4, 2023 that all 30 books were removed from circulation.  It is BPS policy that requires those 30 books to remain out of circulation until a given book is reviewed and a final decision as to its appropriateness for school is made. That is the policy.


Stephanie King

* The email will not be published on the website.