Books on WCS Digital Library app raise concerns among some parents
FRANKLIN, Tenn. (WSMV) – A digital library used by Williamson County Schools students has been temporarily disabled while the district reviews its contents.
WCS mother Trisha Lucente said earlier this week that she informed school board members about the contents of the digital library app called “EPIC!”
She says she logged onto her kindergarten’s Chromebook and found a range of books.
“There’s a page in there that says love and kisses so delicious. It’s about same-sex marriage and so on. There are people kissing on it. Love and kisses so delicious are not not something a child needs to read,” Lucente explained.
In the school district’s most recent message to parents, officials sent the following notice:
“Hello WCS families of K-5 students,
I am writing to you with additional information regarding the epic! digital library application used in our primary schools for the past few years.
As shared yesterday, the district is reviewing the epic! application. This review is based on shared concerns about the book titled, An ABC of Equality, and others with similar topics. After preliminary review, we found no content that should be blocked for all students. However, the app contains over 40,000 selections and the selections are subject to change, so the staff is conducting a review of this application as follows:
• How students access content available through the app
• Verify that WCS internet filters correctly filter content when accessed directly through the application
The district hopes to complete the review by the middle of next week.
Additionally, with the passing of recent state legislation, the Age Appropriate Materials Act of 2022, Public Chapter 744, we will be reviewing whether this app meets new requirements for use in schools.
Finally, over the next few weeks, the district will review more than 600 apps currently available to teachers and students based on their alignment with the new legislation.”
Parent Revida Rahman with One Willco champions rights and equity for all students. She hopes the district will make decisions with all parents and students in mind.
“I think it’s hard to say that one person’s belief system matters when you’re in a district and you want to be inclusive and you want the kids to feel safe and welcome,” said Rahman.
“Not wanting these books on an app, or in a library, or anywhere else, doesn’t mean you don’t want these people to be seen and you don’t want this community. It’s about his age for these kids to see this now and ask these questions in school,” Lucente said.
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