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Monday, September 25, 2023
Sept. 25, 2023

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Wenatchee School Board hears opposition to book bans


WENATCHEE — Parents, librarians, teachers and concerned residents came out to Tuesday’s Wenatchee School Board meeting to voice their concern over the possibility of banning certain LGBTQ+ books from school libraries.

“I’m here to tell you that I’m very much in favor of having a library catalog and … a school system that is inclusive to all children,” said Mike Inslee, a Wenatchee School District parent.

The Wenatchee School District board meeting room was packed with more than 50 people. Every chair was filled and many individuals stood or sat on the floor.

Some brought posters supportive of the LGBTQ+ community. One sign read, “our schools are a place where everyone is welcome and everyone belongs.”

Inslee finished his public comment by denouncing the “ignorant and cowardly fear” from adults who would want to ban books.

“The fear I speak of is being used to try and systematically erase a community just trying to live,” he said. “This has nothing to do with books. It’s just one of the main tools in their playbook, and I encourage you all to denounce this call to action and send a strong statement to those behind it.”

People who missed Tuesday’s board meeting can watch a video recording of the board meeting here, which included public comments from 28 people.

The turnout was prompted by rumors that began circulating about a week ago over social media posts calling on residents to attend the board meeting in an effort to have books pulled from the school district’s libraries.

Images that circulated on social media included three books: “The Passing Playbook,” “All Boys Aren’t Blue” and “Queer: The Ultimate LGBT Guide for Teens.”

A search of the school district’s online library catalogue shows that “The Passing Playbook” is the only book among the three in questions available in the school district. It is in the Wenatchee High School library. Pioneer Middle School has “All Boys Aren’t Blue” in audio and e-book format.

People can access the school district’s library online catalogue here.

Two adults, Jorge and Carmen Rosales, went to the Wenatchee High School and the district office on May 12 to “share concerns about items that may be part of our library collection,” said Diana Haglund, Wenatchee School District spokesperson in an email.

Eric Anderson, the high school’s principal, asked them to schedule an appointment to come and look through the library, but to the district’s knowledge, never did.

Bill Eagle, the district’s interim superintendent, also met with the Rosaleses and shared the district’s policies and procedures related to curriculum, instruction and the library.

The Rosaleses also contacted the Washington Elementary School by phone and scheduled an appointment but did not show up for their scheduled meeting with the school’s librarian, Haglund said.

The Rosaleses told the district they planned to share their concerns with the school board on Tuesday, Haglund said. But the Rosales did not provide a public comment at the meeting.

It is also not clear if Rosaleses have any children attending in the Wenatchee School District. Haglund said in an email the school district has “not been able to very if they have children enrolled in our schools based on their names.”