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New Lodi school district policy allows parents to decide on appropriate books for teens

Lodi parents can decide what books are appropriate for students under new district policy
Lodi parents can decide what books are appropriate for students under new district policy 02:44

LODI -- The Lodi Unified School District has approved a new policy allowing parents to decide whether certain books are appropriate for their teens.

The policy stems from the recently formed book review committee attempting to ban two books from district libraries for what they deemed inappropriate content.

However, the move resulted in confusion among district parents. Specifically, whether or not that committee, appointed by the superintendent, had the authority to ban those titles.

"School board members were getting inundated with text phone calls, texts, emails, asking why are they banning books. What the heck is going on?" teacher union president Lisa Lennon Wilkins explained.

To clear things up, district Superintendent Neil Young put out a statement Tuesday saying:

"That committee did not have the authority to make any determination based on Board Rule 1312.2. Ultimately, as the Superintendent of Lodi Unified School District, it is my responsibility to ensure transparency and trust between our school district and our community. Unfortunately, this situation has eroded that trust. For that, I sincerely apologize."

The Board Rule 1312.2 requires the district to acknowledge that some reading material may not be acceptable to everyone and complaints must be reviewed by the superintendent before a book can be banned.

According to Lennon Wilkins, the books up for discussion were "Tricks" and "This is Kind of an Epic Love Story" – both of which the committee wanted to remove due to what some call vulgar language and sexual content.

However, next fall, parents will be able to use the Aeries Access portal to opt their teens out of checking out adult-level books that may contain mature topics.

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