An Ontario school board has been “weeding” out all books published before 2008 with the goal of removing any “harmful, oppressive, or colonial content,” according to the board’s directive to school libraries.
The Peel District School Board (PDSB) directive suggests many books from the past are “inherently racist, classist, heteronormative, and/or sexist.”
Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce says the board should stop this weeding.
It is “offensive, illogical and counterintuitive” to remove books from years past that educate students on history or are celebrated literary classics, he said in a statement emailed to The Epoch Times. He also noted that some old books, such as “The Diary of Anne Frank,” can teach about antisemitism.
The book evaluation, the directions say, should be part of a “comprehensive diversity audit of schools, which shall include naming, mascots, libraries, and classrooms.” The directive says the school should submit a final audit report by June 30, 2022.
The PDSB directive to libraries says library staff must let go of their personal biases.
“Holding onto personal biases such as ‘But I love/loved that book’ promotes practices that prioritize teacher-centered approaches, rather than ensuring that students have access to current, compelling, and relevant resources,” it says.
“The category of ‘Classics’ typically consists of Euro-centric texts that were penned long before students’ birth dates, and may not reflect the lived experiences of students within the Peel District School Board,” it continues.
One of the “frequently asked questions” included in the directive is “How was the 15-year weeding date chosen?” This 2008 cut-off date was chosen, it says, “to maintain the currency and relevance of the collection.” It says educators must serve a diverse community and emphasize “anti-racism and anti-oppression.”