Parents’ protests triggers process to consider banning novel in Monte Vista School District


MONTE VISTA - Citing “Critical Race Theory”, “hate against whites”, promotion of bullying and an “anti-police message”, a group of eight parents voiced concerns about the novel “The Hate U Give” during a recent school board meeting of the Monte Vista School Board, triggering a process that could result in the school banning the book from classrooms and library shelves.

“It has no place in our school system,” was the comment of one unnamed parent, according to the Monte Vista Journal, where the story was first reported by Marie Mccomb.

For now, Mccomb reports, the book is on hold and a process to ban the book from the school district has been triggered, according to Monte Vista School District Superintendent Scott Wiedeman.

“I am not saying that we won’t keep the book, or we will keep the book in the system, all I am saying is for now, we have put a stop to the book, because we have to go through this process before we can move forward, and this process is not a fast one,” Wiedeman said.

Elementary parent Michael Decker, who recently moved to Monte Vista, said the high school administration was not doing its job.

“I feel we shouldn’t even be here talking about this, because I feel that it is the responsibility of the principal…to intercede in this, sooner than this,” Decker said.

Although not an agenda item, Mccomb reports, some trustees advised the parents of protocol for removing or banning a book from the district would be followed and as part of that parents could express their thoughts positive or negative by filling out a form.

Wiedeman said the forms will be read, the book will be evaluated, and everything must be presented to the Colorado Board of Education.

“I can assure you that we take very seriously all of our student’s needs. I was approached by this last week, and we appreciate your opinions,” Wiedeman said.

“The Hate U Give” is a critically acclaimed, 464-page young adult novel, originally published in 2017.

Described by Barnes and Noble as a “Black Lives Matter-inspired novel about 16-year-old Starr Carter, whose life is upended after she is the sole witness to a police shooting that kills her best friend”, the book went on to be on the New York Times bestseller list and receive more than twelve awards in the first two years following its publication, including the prestigious National Book Award for Young Adult Literature, the Carnegie Medal, the Coretta Scott King Award, the Michael L. Printz Award and the American Library Association’s William C. Morris Award. In 2018, Barnes and Noble announced it would host Young Adult Book Club discussions of the novel in select stores around the nation.

The American Library Association also listed the novel as one of the top ten books to be challenged in 2018, 2019 and 2020 with complaints of “vulgar language, depiction of selling drugs, profanity and offensive language” listed as the most commonly cited reasons for a challenge to be made. The American Library Association Office for Intellectual Freedom receives reports from libraries, schools, and the media on attempts to ban books in communities across the country. A list of those books are published each year.

Shortly after its release in 2017, the novel was banned from a school district in Texas but was reinstated in 2018 with the requirement that students get parents’ permission prior to checking out the book. In 2021, the novel was banned from elementary and intermediate school libraries in a school district in Utah but allowed for checkout by high school students.