Committee Members To Review Books In Frederick County Public Schools Could Be Finalized This Week

The panel will review 35 books in Frederick County Public Schools libraries.

Frederick, Md (KM) The process of selecting members for a book review committee being set up by Frederick County Public Schools is expected to be completed sometime this week, according to Dr. Kevin Cuppett, Executive Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Innovation  for FCPS. He says the panel will be reviewing 35 public school library books which former Board of Education candidate Cindy Rose says are sexually explicit, and should be removed.

“Because of the number of books that we’re reconsidering–which is 35–from the complainants, we’re actually making it  much, much larger because there are so many books to review,” Dr. Cuppett says.

Normally, these committees  consist of ten members, five from FCPS staff and five from the community. Dr. Cuppett says this committee will consist of 59 members, including some parents. “The only requirement to be a parent is that you have an FCPS student,” he says. “We didn’t ask any qualifying questions or anything like that. They need to be interested in the process, and so that’s the only qualification from that perspective.”

There will be two parents from each of the high school feeder areas, along with students and other community members who have a certain expertise in this area. “These are library books of a wide variety of topics. So we ask community members tell us why you think you have expertise or  knowledge in this area,”: Dr. Cuppett says.

Almost 1,000 people have applied to be on the committee, but only 59 will chosen.

Dr. Cuppett says the committee is expected to begin its work in January, and that could continue into April. Each member is required to read at least two of the 35 books.

The committee will take testimony from the complainants on each of the 35 books. “In addition, the committee, in their discussions, can request testimony from other constituents or stakeholders,” says Dr. Cuppett. “So if an issue comes  up and they have questions or concerns, they might say ‘hey could we bring in somebody with a particular background or expertise, and ask for testimony.'”

Dr. Cuppett says the committee is expected to have a final report within days after it takes final testimony. “I will submit a report to the Deputy Superintendent, and the Deputy Superintendent will review that report and forward that to the Superintendent for the Superintendent to take action,” he says.

The committee will meet behind closed doors, but its final report will be available to the public.

By Kevin McManus