As part of an ongoing overhaul of policies intended to boost parental rights, curtail teacher activism, reign in explicit sex education and restrict the use of LGBTQ pronouns in public schools, the Mat-Su School Board is set to vote on a new library policy at its Aug. 2 meeting.
The proposed library policy will delete language which describes libraries as “safe spaces” that provide “equitable” and “inclusive” materials. The updates also strongly emphasize that libraries are to be primarily “academic” resources, rather than places that facilitate ill-defined “ethics and values.”
The proposed library changes state that, “All materials depicting human sexuality will require parental consent before students may access the materials.” Additionally, it removes wording that gives school librarians authority to purchase books and materials without prior committee recommendations or school board approval.
In June, the school board approved a slate of updated policies that strengthened parental rights and restricted the ability of educators to push controversial social and sexual ideologies on students. School employees are no longer allowed to take up school time or resources to promote “activist” causes, and schools must get “written permission” from parents before referring to kids with alternative pronouns that conflict with a child’s biological sex.
Another recent policy update states that school counselors are first and foremost “academic” advisors who must consult “primarily with the parents,” and they do not have authority to offer advice to students about gender issues or personal problems without parental involvement.