Mat-Su schools that plan to host book fairs in which private vendors sell materials to children and parents, must now first provide parents with a list of the books on display. Additionally, parents must be notified two weeks prior to the fair so they have time to review material which they may find objectionable and decide whether to withdraw their child. If private book vendors refuse to provide book lists, the book fair must be cancelled.

These are part of a new set of protocols issued by the Mat-Su School District in the wake of a March 23-24 book fair at Teeland Middle School in Wasilla. The event featured books celebrating gay teen romance, LGBTQ activism, queer fantasy and transgender sexual identity. Held in the 6th-through-8th grade school library, the fair took place during school hours, and was jointly hosted by Fireside Bookstore, a Palmer-based business that partners with LGBTQ activist groups to promote transgenderism and homosexuality among Mat-Su youth.

The instruction warns that distribution of sexually explicit content to minors is a felony.

District protocols now instruct school librarians to review books ahead of the event and remove any with “sexually explicit” content. Concerns about specific books should then be brought directly to the principal, who should contact his or her supervisor.

Additionally, the district is establishing a committee to review and amend the Library Collection Policies Manual. In particular, the district aims to establish a process to provide parents with approval and notification rights regarding books their children access via school libraries.

The new protocol notes that, “due to the volume of book challenges, the district has suspended” its current process of reconsidering the appropriateness of books. Moving forward, a Reconsideration Committee will apply Alaska statute as the criteria in deciding the educational value of a book in question.

According to Alaska Statute, a school must provide parent notification “not less than two weeks before any activity, class, or program that includes content involving human reproduction or sexual matters is provided to a child.” The law also emphasizes that parents have a right to “review the content of these activities or programs before they are offered to their child.

In explaining the new protocol, the district noted that it has grappled with the question of whether a school-sponsored book fair constitutes an “activity” or “program” as defined in law.

“There is no statutory definition of the term ‘activity,’ but to the extent that teachers and librarians are involved in the organization, implementation, or supervision of a book fair, it is prudent for the district to consider it an activity for the purposes of the statute,” the protocol notes. “Thus, the statutory rights of parents to advance notice, to content review, and to withdraw their child from the activity, must be provided.”

The instructions emphasize that this is particularly important if the activity “includes content involving human reproductive or sexual matters.”

The instruction goes on to warn that distribution of sexually explicit content to minors is a felony.

“That statute does not exempt teachers, librarians, or other school staff involved in book fairs, even if acting in the course and scope of their duties,” it adds.

The instructions end by explaining that the intent is to “ensure compliance with the law, thereby protecting the rights of students and parents, while protecting the district and its staff from assertions of statutory violations.”

Other controversial, but non-pornographic books, will not be removed, but parents will “decide if they want their child to have access to those available books,” the document states. “Librarians should still make efforts to identify such books, to better communicate with parents who express content concerns.”

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Mat-Su revamps protocols to protect students in wake of controversial school book fair

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 24 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.


  • Friend of Humanity says:

    It is a start.

  • Neil DeWitt says:

    ThNk GID someone finally kis putting a foot down and saying no! This needs to be followed up on by the bourgh and parents now and those that break the law need to do some jail time. let’s say 10 years to start. Make it long enough those that break the law will think twice first.

    • MW says:

      Are they really putting their foot down though? It’s a list. It doesn’t fix anything. “Sorry Billy you can’t go to this book fair because there are sexually explicit, unlawful, inappropriate books on this list and I can’t trust the school to safeguard you from that.” This book list reminds me of the ingredients list on any candy: red dye #2, corn syrup, etc etc. Kids still want the candy despite what’s on the list, even if it isn’t good for them. This list does nothing but further showcase that the district does NOT have any child’s well-being in mind. Come on in to our school, we apparently have an open door policy to anyone now. How does a Christian Bookstore get on that approved vendors list to get into all the book fairs???

  • Lobo says:

    “” The instruction goes on to warn that distribution of sexually explicit content to minors is a felony. “” .. Okay, we already knew it was a felony, and so did they, but, apparently, no one with standing (and funding) has filed suits. I don’t have legal standing, or I would have already… It violates state laws, as well as federal laws, but they keep getting a pass on state, and federal levels..

    • Larry Wood says:

      Good points, but did anyone go to a prosecutor and ask how in the face of AS 11.61.128 such materials could be publicly displayed in a venue where kids were expected to be present? Not to mention that these materials were intended for minors?
      Problem is not the kids wanting, but the sick parents, administrators and teachers that would allow such garbage in the first place.
      As the meme says: Don’t ask why there are children at drag queen reading hour, but ask why drag queens want to be with small children?
      The Left wants the kids for sex toys, they get this crap in the schools, and they will claim that such has been accepted and is now a ‘standard’ for the community.

  • DaveMaxwell says:

    Are we ready to apologize to the inmates doing time for se crimes that are currently incarcerated? This dance around the issues that are being played here is bull s*** and by God some of the teachers/ librarians counselors etc had better be seeing time spent at goose creek in the near future!!! What say you hughes???!

  • MW says:

    I still don’t understand how a private local business is getting into Mat su area school libraries? What prevents any private business who earns to gain something financially or otherwise from doing the same thing? What accreditation does Fireside Books have? What about their employees? How is a list safeguarding the kids? It IS a start- but it’s not the right one? Now parents can’t trust that the school district will keep them safe from sexual predators and deviants, we have to read through another book list to determine if our kids can or can not participate in the current book fair? What happened to Scholastic or Usborne book fairs? Why does this particular private business get to be a megaphone programming whatever they are inclined, into the ears and eyes of innocent children? What prevents any private business (with their own agenda) from doing the exact same thing. Again, Fireside Books must have some friends in high places. They’d have more friends and supporters (like an entire district) if they took all the trash material off their shelves and focused on selling good literature. Think about it folks: the bigger issue is this private business was allowed easy access to all of the kids. Unfortunately it comes at the cost of inappropriate topics to adolescents without the safety or supervision of their parents. Write an email to superintendent Randy Tranni – go ASK your school librarian and Principal how the district allowed this to happen- on repeat at that- CALL The district and convey that this is an unacceptable option for our youth. Ask Fireside to stop carrying this filth and then order something wholesome to say thank you.

  • Mb says:

    “The instruction (LAW) goes on to warn that distribution of sexually explicit content to minors is a felony.” “HA! Wait there are laws in the U.S., no!, they are only for the peasants.”
    If I was a lawyer or had the money I would start pushing the issue, yup Fireside & Teeland Middle School, would be 1 of my first stops. Might even find that our new Superintendent new a thing or 2. HEY Anchoage sounds like you’ve got your work cut out for you.

  • Lucinda says:

    Lotta snowflakes in Mat Su.

    • Andy says:

      Stop with the box wine Lucindafer

    • DoneWithIt says:

      Distribution of sexually explicitly material to a minor is a FELONY.
      Doesn’t matter if it is a school or a bookstore.
      People, start calling the police on these Perverts and have a copy of the Alaska Statute to show the police AND videotape EVERYTHING.

  • Friend of Humanity says:

    I just saw conversation of this book series that looks like it might be encouragement in the wrong direction. Are there any kids that can check the school libraries and see if this series is there? I would not be surprised if it is found in the school libraries.
    ‘Assassination Classroom’

  • Mother Grizz says:

    Thank you, Alaska Watchman! It seems fair to say that none of this would have been exposed if not for your hard work.

  • Larry Wood says:

    If the book fair is intended to proffer materials for schools where school employees are examining them for use in the curriculum, the school board needs to add that circumstance, also. Good grief, getting embroiled in legal minutia where endangering kids or compromising the purpose of education is simply silly.

    • Larry Wood says:

      The question is, if these materials violate AS 11.61.128, how can they be there in the first place? Where is a prosecutor and a grand jury to investigate this assault on the children of this community and community mores and standards of acceptance?