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Brandywine school board votes to require parental permission for books deemed explicit amid continued opposition

 Brandywine schools book restrictions
Photo courtesy of Brandywine Community Schools
A shelf in the library of Brandywine Middle/Senior High School

After months of contentious rhetoric and meetings, the Brandywine school board on Monday unanimously passed a policy that requires parental permission for students to access so-called sexually explicit books.

The board unanimously voted to approve a policy that will restrict 31 books in the school’s library. Middle and high school students wishing to check out those books will need parental permission and the policy requires library staff to send excerpts from the books in question to parents before they can sign off.

Board members, including board president Thomas Payne, say the policy is a good compromise and noted that all the books are still available to students, if they get their parents permission.

However, many members of the public continue to view the policy as an attack on freedom of speech and expression.

“People who love books usually don’t reject titles that offer unfamiliar or challenging perspectives. People who love books universally don’t turn libraries into battlegrounds,” said Brandywine teacher Debbie Carew.

The board has still not lifted its moratorium on purchasing new books, though it plans to address that and other policies about books containing violence at its meeting next month.

Marek Mazurek has been with WVPE since April 2023, though he's been in Michiana for most of his life. He has a particular interest in public safety reporting. When he's not on the radio, Marek enjoys getting way too into Notre Dame football and reading about medieval English history.