Controversial Book Series Banned From Wicomico Public Schools
SALISBURY, Md.- Wicomico County Superintendent of Schools Dr. John Fredericksen on Thursday announced that a controversial series of Japanese graphic novels has been removed from all public school media centers.
On Tuesday, Oct. 6, a member of the Wicomico County Council presented Wicomico County Board of Education officials with several photo-copied pages from "Dragon Ball: The Monkey King," a book checked out by a 9-year-old Pittsville Elementary and Middle School student. A complaint form was later received from a parent.
There were concerns expressed that the books, which school officials later learned were intended for young adults, depict some violence and show nudity. Because of the concerns, school officials began the process of removing the book from media center shelves for review. "Dragon Ball" series books at Pittsville Elementary and Middle School and Parkside High School were removed from media center shelves for a committee review as required by procedures and policy.
When staff members became aware of a concern about the book, they began the process of removing the book from media center shelves for review. The "Dragon Ball" book series at Pittsville Elementary and Middle School and Parkside High School were removed from media center shelves for a committee review as required by procedures and policy. A complaint form was later received from a parent, according to Fredericksen.
On Monday, Oct. 12, a Board of Education committee met to review "Dragon Ball: The Monkey King" book. DFredericksen said he and other committee members have read the book, and several committee members have read other books from the "Dragon Ball" series that were pulled from media center shelves for review. Fredericksen said that after review, the committee recommended removal of all books in the "Dragon Ball" series. The committee is continuing to study the "Dragon Ball Z" series (intended for all audiences) for further recommendations, Fredericksen said.
Fredericksen said he agreed with the committee's recommendation and is directing that the books pulled for committee review- "Dragon Ball: The Monkey King" and the remainder of the Dragon Ball series (not the Dragon Ball Z series, which is still under review)- not be returned to school media centers.
"These books will not be available in any Wicomico school media center," Fredericksen said.
Fredericksen said this decision does not deny the use of acceptable graphic novels as an available educational tool in the school system. He noted that graphic novels with appropriate content can be a useful tool in encouraging reluctant readers to pick up a book and read.
Fredericksen said that as a result of this incident, Wicomico public schools are instituting more focused and ongoing professional development training on the selection of media materials and additional procedures to handle student requests for media books and resources.
"The Wicomico County Public School System regrets the offense caused to the family that submitted a complaint about the book," Fredericksen said. "I urge anyone who has a concern about reading materials brought home from school to contact the school so that the procedures and policies already in place for handling such concerns can be followed and a resolution to the concern can be reached."