DOYLESTOWN, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- The Central Bucks School Board met on Thursday night to discuss a controversial potential library policy that has many parents fearing censorship on what books students can read.
The Board allowed for 30 minutes of public comment where parents, teachers and librarians made impassioned pleas to not ban any books or limit the curriculum.
Critics say the language in the proposed policy is too vague and endangers the banning of classic literature.
"What does visually implied mean? How do you define sexual acts? Which will lead to the school board filling in all the blanks," said Katherine Semisch, a retired librarian who lives in Doylestown.
"Thousands of us have been advocating for the previous library policy that upholds our students' freedom to read. We're alarmed that this newly proposed policy is in direct violation to this," added Kate Nazimy of Doylestown.
Another criticism is the policy requires library supervisors to read every new book requested prior to adding it to the curriculum. Also, teachers say they must upload supplemental reading that they add to courses because of limited information in textbooks.
Ang Parisi, a social studies teacher, held up the small portion of a history book that barely covers World War II. She then showed the large amount of supplemental material she also uses.
But members of the board and the superintendent were receptive to the comments and also clarified what they said are misconceptions about the proposal.
They worked to amend some of the languages and told teachers they encourage supplemental material.
One teacher feared the policy would prevent accurately teaching about the current war.
But School Board President Dana Hunter said, "The way the policy is written, it wouldn't preclude you from what you are doing now -- we encourage that."
The Board also made it clear that classic literature was never in jeopardy.
Still, some remain leery.
The ACLU released this statement:
"This proposal paves an expressway to censorship. If passed, the policy will lead to the banning of age-appropriate books with serious artistic, literary, and educational value simply because a parent or school board member does not like a particular book. Parents have latitude to limit what their own children read; they don't and shouldn't have that authority to decide what books other children have access to. Each family has the right to decide what's suitable for their children. Application of this policy will almost certainly result in unconstitutional censorship. And such censorship will assuredly attract federal court lawsuits."
Adopting a new policy will take time. Thursday was just one of several meetings.
Once a proposal is crafted and agreed upon, the Board will have to present it at least twice before a vote.