- The Washington Times - Friday, March 17, 2000

The Fairfax County School Board yesterday sided with a parent who sought to remove a book she considered inappropriate for elementary and middle-school libraries after an earlier deadlock.

Initially, board members agreed the book, "Daughters of Eve" by Lois Duncan, was not appropriate for elementary school students, because in it a teacher insists a student have a secret abortion and another girl kills her father. However, the board could not reach consensus on what grades should be allowed to check out the book from a school library.

The 12-member board initially hit an impasse on whether to make the book available to students in seventh grade or higher or restrict it to high school libraries, voting 6-6 on each motion. But Robert E. Frye, at-large chairman, switched his vote to the measure proposed by Jane Strauss, Dranesville District , that would restrict the book to high school libraries.

That was the result Kathy Stohr was looking for.

The mother of an eighth-grade student who attends a Fairfax County school, Mrs. Stohr had complained about "Daughters of Eve," arguing it was not appropriate for the 12 middle schools and one elementary school that are among 26 school libraries that carry the book.

"I felt my good parenting option was taken out of my hands by this book being in a school," Mrs. Stohr said after the vote.

The book did not show people facing consequences for violent actions against others, Mrs. Stohr said. It will make young women distrustful of men and it advocates abortion despite a school policy prohibiting discussion of the topic in middle schools, she added.

Mr. Frye initially voted for a motion, proposed by board member Stuart Gibson, Hunter Mill District, that would put the book in libraries for those in seventh grade and above.

Although he preferred that measure, Mr. Frye said he switched his vote because the board had to act within a time limit, and "clearly, this is not banning the book."

Those voting for the motion that would have made the book available for students in seventh grade and higher were: Mr. Gibson; Ernestine C. Heastie, Providence District; Kaye Kory, Mason District; Isis Castro, Mount Vernon District; and Catherine C. Belter, Springfield District.

The board members who voted on the final motion to remove the book from elementary and middle school libraries and only allow it in high school libraries were: Mr. Frye; Christian Braunlich, Lee District; Judith Wilson, Braddock District; Rita Thompson, at-large; Jane Strauss, Dranesville District; Mychele Brickner, at-large; and Gary Reese, Sully District.

The board also unanimously voted to reject the recommendation of an ad hoc review committee that voted 6-1 in December to keep the book in the libraries. Superintendent Daniel A. Domenech agreed with that recommendation.

Mrs. Stohr said the struggle to get the book removed from libraries shows parents many of whom have a false sense of security with the school system may not know what their children can read at school and need to pay more attention.

"Ninety-nine percent of parents don't know what their kids are reading," she said.

Mrs. Stohr also said the process of challenging a book needs to be changed. The members of the ad hoc review committee "are trained in intellectual freedom issues and very close-minded about removing books," she said.

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