St. Johns County School Board restricts 4 books


The St. Johns County School Board voted to restrict access to four books in school libraries following objections by a parent.

At a special meeting on Tuesday, May 28, the board heard objections by Jean Moore concerning four books that, up until that meeting, had been available to all students at the high school level.

The books were: “Slaughterhouse Five” by Kurt Vonnegut, “Freedom Writers Diary” by various writers, “L8R, G8R” by Lauren Myracle and “A Stolen Life: A Memoir” by Jaycee Lee Dugard.

At issue was whether these books violated state statute regarding content considered to be pornographic or in some other way objectionable for students and whether they should be available for checkout at school libraries.

Moore read passages from each of the books that contained strong sexual language.

Public comment ran the gamut, with some speakers saying the books should not be available in the schools, others having no problem with their presence on the shelf and still others praising one or more of the books and even labeling some therapeutic.

At the conclusion of the two-hour meeting, the board voted 4-1 to restrict access to “Slaughterhouse Five” and “A Stolen Life” to students in grades 11 and 12. It voted 4-1 to restrict access to “Freedom Writers Diary” and “L8R, G8R” to students in 12th grade with parental permission.

The dissenting vote on each of the motions was cast by Patrick Canan.

St. Johns County parents have the option to restrict their own children’s access to specific books, but as more than one person pointed out, they can’t know the content of all the books on school library shelves.