Half of the books were removed from school libraries by the Peel District School Board for concerns that they promoted racism or other harmful stereotypes or failed to support students’ gender identities, and the board has since defended this policy.
Reportedly, popular novels like “Harry Potter” and “The Hunger Games” were taken off the shelves. Books published more than 15 years before 2008 were declared obsolete and removed during the culling process.
According to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), the Ontario, Canada, school board has thrown away thousands of books.
Workers in the Peel District School Board were told to work on identity affirmation and that anti-racist, anti-oppressive, and anti-colonial texts should be used in the classroom.
To reduce the damage done by out-of-date and repressive reading materials, the district implemented equitable weeding, which involved the removal of books considered inappropriate by the school board.
Before moving on to an Anti-racist and Inclusive Audit, the equitable curation cycle began with purging damaged, out-of-date, and unused materials.
They took great pains to ensure that materials expressly affirmed students’ identities, including those of Black, Indigenous, 2SLGBTQ+, Muslim, Latinx, Jewish, and South Asian kids.
The board said it is a priority for the Peel District to stock school libraries with materials that respect and represent the many cultures of Peel’s student body.
According to the board, older volumes can remain in the library as long as they are factually correct, applicable to the curriculum, consistent with board initiatives, and adaptable to the needs of the students.
Adding more books that reflect the rich diversity of our communities is an essential priority for Ontario, according to Lecce. It’s disrespectful, illogical, and contradictory to get rid of books that teach pupils about Canada’s history, antisemitism, or well-known literary classics from years past.
Reina Takata, a tenth-grader at Erindale Secondary School, objected to the school’s decision to remove more than half of the library’s books, with certain sections wholly eliminated.
She provided a photo showing that large chunks of text had been removed, arguing that this constituted censorship.
Education Minister Stephen Lecce of Ontario has said he instructed the school board to stop the practice after it received extensive media attention.