New Hanover County School Board to hold appeal hearing on ‘Stamped’

New Hanover County School Board to hold appeal hearing on ‘Stamped’
Published: Jul. 25, 2023 at 11:02 AM EDT|Updated: Jul. 25, 2023 at 11:10 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - The New Hanover County Board of Education will have an appeal hearing on whether to ban the book Stamped: Racism, Anti-Racism, and You by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds.

The process began after a parent requested that the book be removed, but the proposal received negative feedback from other parents and educators at a meeting on Tuesday, July 11.

“We have a policy in place. So we’re just following the policy, [the parent] does have a right to appeal to the board, the board made the decision to hear the hearing,” said NHCS Chairman Pete Wildeboer.

On Tuesday, July 25, board members debated whether or not there should be a separate meeting, solely dedicated to having a public comment period, either before the appeal hearing or entirely separate, but that was defeated, 4 to 3.

Instead, the board will only extend its call to the audience period by 30 minutes at the Tuesday, Aug. 1 board meeting.

Board member, Stephanie Kraybill, believes this is not enough time to thoroughly dissect the subject.

“I’m just sad we’re at this point. I’ll reiterate my statement from before. I don’t know why we’re fearful of listening to our parents,” said Kraybill.

Board members made it clear, however, that the appeal hearing would not be open for public comment. Simply, the appeal would be between the singular parent and the school system, according to Kraybill.

“That’s what we’re weighing in on, her complaint. How the school committee and how the district committee handled it, it’s very simple. It does not have to be anything more, but it could be,” said Kraybill.

Other members are worried about what this hearing could mean for the future of books in New Hanover County Schools.

“Once we ban a book, we have an audience that comes, who has a whole list of books we ban which we have not addressed, this has been addressed, but not that list, that will be next, are you going to ban any of those?” asked Hugh McManus.

The hearing, though, could end in several possible outcomes.

“The board does have the option to say take it out of a classroom, take it out of the whole school, take it out of the whole school district or to only assign only let it be in certain levels,” said Kraybill.

You can sign up to speak at the call to the audience here.