Canadian school library removes all books published prior to 2008

Every book published prior to 2008 has been removed from a public high school library in Canada to ensure that kids are not exposed to non-inclusivity.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Imagine the surprise of students at Erindale Secondary School in Mississauga, Ontario, when they entered the school's library last spring to discover...empty shelves.  Staff told them, "If the shelves look emptier right now it's because we have to remove all books [published] prior to 2008."

Why?  Because "The Peel District School Board works to ensure that the books available in our school libraries are culturally responsive, relevant, inclusive, and reflective of the diversity of our school communities and the broader society," according to the school board.

And the Ontario Ministry of Education (OME) describes the PDSB's "equitable curation cycle" as "a three-step process that holds Peel staff accountable for being critically conscious of how systems operate, so that we can dismantle inequities and foster practices that are culturally responsive and relevant."  What are these three steps?

Step 1: Teachers/librarians are instructed to focus on reviewing books that were published 15 or more years ago (AKA problematic books).

Step 2: An anti-racist and inclusive audit is conducted, during which a book's quality and appeal are defined by "resources that promote anti-racism, cultural responsiveness and inclusivity."

Step 3: A second — or "representation" — audit is performed, noting how books (and other resources) reflect student diversity.

What happens to the books that don't pass muster?  Apparently, they are "S-canned," because board documents state they could be "causing harm."  Causing harm?!  Yes, the musty old books could be a health hazard, either because of their physical condition or because "they are not inclusive, culturally responsive, relevant or accurate."  Ergo, the board documents say the books cannot be donated, as "they are not suitable for any learners."

Maybe the PTSD PDSB educators just burn them.  (In a highly inclusive manner, no doubt!)

Fortunately, the CBC questioned the OME about this practice, and the OME agreed that cleansing library bookshelves of all titles published before 2008 is bad.  Ontario education minister Stephen Lecce recently said he wrote to the board urging it to immediately end the practice.  Lecce stated: "Ontario is committed to ensuring that the addition of new books better reflects the rich diversity of our communities.  It is offensive, illogical and counterintuitive to remove books from years past that educate students on Canada's history, antisemitism or celebrated literary classics."  (Especially those on Canada's history of antisemitism, I'm guessing.)

Nonetheless, the writing is on the wall.  We can see where this is all headed.  The most inclusive thing we can do is to ban books published before 2008, right?  Because nothing of note happened before Obama was anointed.  And not just a book or two here and there that some far-right extremists find unsuitable for young children, but every single novel, paperback, hardcover, textbook, tome, manual, work, atlas, tract, and treatise written and/or published before 2008.

The Bible?  Right out!  "The Wealth of Nations"?  Perish the thought!  Atlas Shrugged?  No way!  1984?  The title itself precludes it adorning our library!  (Oh, I see why they want pre-Obama books banned.)

Forget Socrates, Aristotle, Martin Luther, William Shakespeare, Thomas Jefferson, and C.S. Lewis.  There's no need for Animal Farm or The Fountainhead.  Bring on Gender Queer and All Boys Aren't Blue.  What student needs works discussing philosophy, freedom, spirituality — and the state of man in general — when there are books available with illustrations of young boys fellating each other?  I mean, "well read" is a subjective term, is it not?

It is no wonder our kids are suffering the highest ever recorded rates of confusion, depression, and suicide.

And, in my book, that's a crime.

Image via Pexels.

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