Elkhorn Area School District admininstrative offices

ELKHORN — Following a challenge by a parent, 444 books have been temporarily removed from library shelves at Elkhorn Area Middle and High Schools in southern Wisconsin.

They include 163 books at the middle school and 281 books at the high school, according to a letter sent Dec. 5, 2023 to Elkhorn Area School District parents.

According to school board member Adam Andre, an individual parent requested the review.

Board policy currently requires challenged books be removed while under review, however some titles have been returned to library shelves, according to Andre.

In a Facebook coment, Andre said the policy has been in place since 2021 and he has already requested the policy be placed on the school board’s policy committee agenda for review.

Among the books are well known titles including:

  • The Grapes of Wrath
  • Lord of the Flies
  • The Color Purple
  • Anna Karenina
  • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

The controversy drew an overflow crowd to Monday’s school board meeting.

The full list of challenged materials is available here.

The list of books is similar to one distributed by the conservative group Mom’s for Liberty, which has been pushing book bans nationwide.

A website created regarding the book challenges called “It’sABookBan.com” outlines the school district’s policy for handling challenges.

  • Per policy 361 rule, the books will be temporarily removed from circulation.
  • Principals will review these books, render their decisions, and respond accordingly.
  • Upon completing their study, the principal shall stipulate “continued use,” “discontinued use,” or “restricted use” of the materials involved, which shall be effective immediately.
  • Principals have been directed that when evaluating a challenged book for grade level appropriateness, they use Common Sense Media, Barnes and Noble, and Amazon.com for age-level ratings.
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By Dan Plutchak

Dan Plutchak, born and raised in Kaukauna, is cofounder of Kaukauna Community News.