The Francis Howell School District Board of Education is considering several changes to the policies and rules governing the school library system. Randy Cook, the Vice President of the Board and one of Francis Howell Families first endorsed candidates in 2022, has proposed an overhaul to the collection development guidelines and the process for challenging (reconsidering) questionable books currently in the school library system.

These changes will drastically increase transparency about what materials are available to students and define what materials we, as a community, feel are appropriate in a public-school library that serves over 16,000 children. The proposed changes make clear that explicit sexual content is not OK for school libraries and provide legal avenues for removing such materials. This used to be common sense, but unfortunately it now needs to be codified in policy.

For too long the American Library Association (ALA) has maintained a firm grip on our school library policies. The current policies include mentions of the ALA and uses language directly from ALA templates. Emily Drabinski, who described herself as a Marxist and authored a 2013 paper titled “Queering the Catalog: Queer Theory and the Politics of Correction” (about “queering” the library catalog), was voted President of the ALA by its members in 2022.

We believe that any organization that elects an open Marxist as their president is not a suitable partner for Francis Howell School District. Furthermore, the ALA proudly proclaims on their website that they oppose “all attempts to restrict access to library services, materials, and facilities based on the age of library users.Let that sink in. The ALA does not believe access to any library material should be based on the age of a child! The policy and rule changes currently being considered by the Francis Howell Board of Education eliminate any reference to, or reliance upon, the American Library Association.

Key highlights of the proposed library policy changes are:

  • Transparency in Acquisition: The public will be able to see what books are being recommended for purchase before they are available to students, so that any questionable books can be further evaluated before purchase.
  • Parental Notification: Parents and guardians can sign up to be notified about materials checked out by their student(s). This process was informally implemented last year but will now be official policy.
  • Age Appropriateness: Books should not have explicit sexual content or have excessive/unnecessary profanity, excessive/unnecessary violence, or excessive/unnecessary drug/alcohol use. Schools are expected to discourage all these things. Materials that normalize such behavior can hardly be considered suitable for an education environment and can desensitize children whose brains are not yet fully developed.  For example: See what Francis Howell has in middle school libraries for children as young as 11.
  • Classroom Library Transparency: Collections of books available to students in classrooms will be cataloged in the library database system for transparency to the community. In the past, some teachers have sought to obtain highly inappropriate books for their private classroom libraries. See: Pornography in Francis Howell Schools which describes the book “Fun Home” which was intended for a classroom library.
  • Inappropriate Materials: Books that are obscene, pervasively vulgar, or educationally unsuitable would be able to be removed if challenged by a member of the Francis Howell community. This follows current U.S. Supreme Court guidance regarding school libraries and the First Amendment.

The far-left activists are already calling these basic additions of transparency and common decency standards for school children an “overreach”, yet this is exactly what our community expects of a school library.  Exposing unwitting children to rape, detailed descriptions of various forms of sex, and other inappropriate topics used to be a widely agreed upon expectation of our schools. No adult in their right mind would show videos of these acts to children, especially other people’s children, and definitely not in school.  However, some librarians (certainly not all) believe the written word is perfectly acceptable to describe, in detail, the process of things such as anal sex, among other highly inappropriate topics. It is long past time to set common sense standards for what our community is willing to fund with their tax dollars.

Predictably, cries of “book banning” are also starting to resurface. Those who scream this grossly overused (and misused) phrase never seem to grasp that parents are free to purchase any book for their child/student if they wish, but asking the taxpayers to fund the purchase of books that few would consider appropriate for school children is nowhere near akin to a book ban.

This regulation and several others will go up for a final vote on July 18th!   If you have a story regarding inappropriate materials with your student or would just like to voice your support for these common sense policy proposals, PLEASE attend the meeting and email the Francis Howell Board of Education at their email addresses below:,,,,,,

Here’s what else you can do to help:

  • Please attend the July 18th, 2024 school board meeting at 6:30pm to show support for our board and this regulation.  The far-left activists will be there, will you?
    See here for more information.
  • Contact us to find out more, or to let us know your concerns about our schools.
  • Consider making a donation to help us elect great school board members that represent you and not the NEA.