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Education

Pasco County Schools may give parents more access to student's library activity

a shelf of brightly colored books.
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The district has witnessed the flurry of book challenges in other counties.

The district is considering making changes to the library checkout system, but no formal plans have been made.

Over the past several months, pressure to give parents more control over their child’s school experience has continued to build.

Tampa Bay's school districts have received — and heard — a number of complaints about school library materials this year.

Now, Pasco County Schools may be the latest to take preventative action to allow parents more control over what their children check out.

Steve Hegarty is the spokesman for Pasco County Schools. He said the district hasn't received any formal complaints about books this year, though there have been some comments made on the topic at school board meetings.

READ MORE: The battle over books in Tampa Bay’s public schools 

But the district has witnessed the flurry of book challenges in other counties.

Most recently, in Polk County the district completed a review of 16 books that a conservative community group said went against values. Now Polk officials are devising a new library checkout system that will give parents’ more power over their student’s library selections.

"We're trying to be forward thinking and put some safeguards in place that safeguards everybody's rights,” Hegarty said. “Because clearly parents should have some choice over what materials their kids are reading, but at the same time one parent does not have the right to what other parents' children have the right to read.

He said the district is considering making changes to the library checkout system, but no formal plans have been made.

One idea for a new process would allow parents to opt-in to receive notice of what their children are reading.

"We're trying to find some way that respects everyone's rights,” he said. “So that a parent could know more about what their child was reading, but at the same time would not be able to prevent other students and parents from making their own choices.

Hegarty said officials are still discussing ideas for a potential new process--and looking to see what solutions other districts come up with.