Broken Arrow schools to create special committees to review, recommend library materials


By Brittany Harlow

The Broken Arrow Board of Education plans to form special committees that may include parents and citizens for reviewing and selecting material for school libraries.

The school board also revised its policy guide to change the term “appropriate materials” to “age-appropriate materials” under the “Objectives of Instructional Materials Selection” section in policy 3110, along with text to ensure materials are “reflecting the community standards.”

A policy council for Broken Arrow Public Schools (BAPS) is in the process of reviewing the entire Board of Education Policy Guide, and revisions to 3110 received a second reading at Monday’s board meeting.

The policy guide revisions state selection of material will be made by committee that includes administrators, at least two teachers representing a variety of grade levels, media specialists and may include parents/guardians and students.

While the responsibility for coordinating and recommending the selection and purchase of library media materials rests with the committees, approval of the final list will be made by the district’s site principals.

View the full policy here.

BAPS Executive Director of Elementary Education Jennifer Peterson said she and Executive Director of Secondary Instruction Sharon James created the procedure to make sure media specialists were not the only set of eyes on what books would be available in the media center.

“Ultimately, we just wanted to make sure that our media specialists, I guess for a lack of better terms, felt safe with what they were ordering,” Peterson said. “And that they would know that they have a team around them.”

Peterson said K-12 media specialists were involved in developing the new policy. A new rubric was developed to help aid in determining if a book is reflective of who that media center is serving.

Peterson said this new committee procedure was not designed to address “challenge” books, informing board members there is an alternate procedure for that.

Board members approved the policy, stating they appreciated how the new defined process removed subjectivity and established consistency.

“I think this will help our parents feel like their students are safe,” said board member Debbie Taylor.

The issue of safety follows the discovery of two “obscene” graphic novels available in Tulsa Public Schools over the summer.

“All school districts should review and evaluate what will be available in their libraries for the coming school year and remove any inappropriate materials,” Oklahoma Supt. of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister said following the discovery.

The Broken Arrow Public Schools Policy Council is divided into subcommittees, each reviewing different areas of policy.

Twenty policy revisions and adoptions were also presented for their first reading Monday night.

A Policy 3000 revision would have AIDS instruction taught in grades 6, 8, and 10 instead of Grades 6-12, and removes the requirement that nurses and teachers who teach AIDS prevention education receive adequate training from health department personnel and/or private medical sources beforehand.

The addition of Policy 3095 would require an annual program including information and training regarding dysgraphia (impairment of handwriting) beginning in the 2023-2024 school year.

A Policy 3260 revision would have sex education taught to all students in grades 6-12, instead of just grades 7, 9 and 10, as well as age-appropriate evidence-based suicide awareness and prevention curriculum to students in grades 7, 9 and 11.

And a revision to Policy 4265 would have individuals be disciplined by the district for refusing to designate multiple occupancy restrooms or changing areas for the exclusive use of one sex as defined by the current policy.

The current Policy 4265 defines “sex,” as the physical condition of being male or female based on genetics and physiology, as identified on the individual’s original birth certificate.

Policy 4265 was developed in pursuant to State Bill 615 (2022), requiring each multioccupancy restroom and changing area located in public schools serving pre-K through 12th-grade students to be designated as either for the exclusive use of the male sex or for the exclusive use of the female sex. The new policy was first adopted by BAPS on August 8, 2022.

The 20 policy revisions and adoptions are set to receive a second reading and board action during the next regular board meeting on Nov. 7.

In other Broken Arrow Public School news, the board voted to approve a donation of $8,000 worth of playground activity markers for Country Lane Intermediate from EduMarkings to aid in education through play.

All general consent items were approved. These items included:

  • A new agreement between BAPS and Capstone and Permabound to host a school librarian appreciation and professional development day for media specialists at Central on Main at no cost to the district
  • A new agreement between BAPS and Northeastern State University to allow BAPS to rent a room from NSUBA for the Gifted Exposition for $350
  • A new agreement between BAPS and Family and Children's Services to provide $5,000 worth of help to grandparents raising grandchildren, paid for with American Rescue Plan funds
  • A new agreement between BAPS and Music Theatre International to supply materials for the play ‘Shrek the Musical’ for $5,419
  • A donation of $6,000 from Tulsa Bone and Joint to the Athletic Activity Fund for the Athletic Trainers project
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