Recently, the New Hanover County school board voted to temporarily remove the book “Stamped: Racism, Anti-Racism, And You” from their district’s classrooms following a complaint made by one parent.
The decision came after a five-hour public hearing where Superintendent Dr. Charles Foust and Assistant Superintendent Dawn Brinson argued against Katie Gates, the lone complainant and parent of a former Ashley High School AP Language and Composition student.
Gates claimed that the book had “no place” in the school system’s classrooms because it supposedly promotes anti-American sentiment and disrespect for the Bible. According to WHQR, prior to bringing her concerns to the NHC school board, Gates had already tried to convince two curriculum committees to remove the book, to no avail.
Gates is an active member of her county’s local Republican party, and while she may be in step with some of the far-right, extreme members of her party, recent polling suggests that half of Republicans oppose book bans.
One of the Republicans who does oppose book bans happens to also be on the New Hanover County school board; at the public hearing, Republican Board Member Stephanie Kraybill’s first question to Gates was, “I’m wondering why you believe you have the right to dictate what the whole county can read – and not just what your child can read?”
Kraybill was referencing the fact that following Gates’s first complaint to her daughter’s teacher, her daughter received an alternative assignment to complete instead.
The teacher who assigned the book initially, Kelli Kidwell, said she felt powerless and that she was disappointed that one parent could have so much power over her classroom.