Book Debate Continues

In a recent message to parents of ISD 200 students, District Superintendent Dr. Robert McDowell addressed the concerns raised over the inclusion of “Gender Queer” as a book in the ISD 200 system. In his letter to parents, Dr. McDowell indicated that he felt the need to communicate with parents, due to activity at a recent School Board meeting and recent social media activity. He described the Policy for reviewing textbooks for the District, Policy 606.2, and said that for the book, this process was followed during the summer of 2022, and the finding and recommendation were to keep the book on the shelf. According to McDowell, the school district maintains one copy of the book for circulation, which is only available from the high school library. The book is not taught in classes, nor is it available at the other buildings in the district. In a published report in the St. Paul Pioneer Press, School Board candidate Mark Zuzek, the teacher-endorsed candidate in Hastings, recalled discovering the women’s health book “Our Bodies, Ourselves” in the same high school library when he was a student. Like “Gender Queer”, it included graphic images for educational purposes, he said. According to the Pioneer Press report, Zuzek thinks “Gender Queer” should continue to be available to Hastings high schoolers. He is quoted as saying, “My thought is that even though those sketches are in there, they are not harmful to the educational purposes of a person reading that would want to read that book. The book is important for kids that we need to serve and we need to protect.”

Click here for audio


Permanent link to this article: