HPS, GIPS status on controversial library books

Hastings and Grand Island public schools reported on usage of books related to gender and...
Hastings and Grand Island public schools reported on usage of books related to gender and sexual identity.(Pixabay)
Published: Aug. 25, 2022 at 10:36 AM CDT
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KEARNEY, Neb. (KSNB) - Superintendents at Hastings and Grand Island public schools Wednesday reported on books about gender and sexual identity which sparked controversy earlier this week.

Republican U.S. Senate Candidate Matt Innis, during an interview Monday on an Omaha radio station questioned the use of those books and specifically referred to those titles being available at Kearney Public Schools.

In Tuesday statement, KPS superintendent Jason Mundorf said that the books “Gender Queer” and “It Feels Good to be Yourself” were not available in any KPS library. It did say however that there was one copy of “Brave Face” at Kearney High School. There were five copies of the book “Looking for Alaska” at Kearney High School and one copy of the same book at the Hanny Arram Center of Success.

On Wednesday, Hastings Public Schools superintendent Jeff Schneider said the district had 18 copies of the book “Looking for Alaska” at the Hastings High School library and one copy of the same book at Hastings Middle School. HHS also had one copy of the book “Brave Face.” Schneider said the district had no copies of the books “GenderQueer” or “It Feels Good to be Yourself” in any of the district’s libraries.

Also Wednesday, Grand Island Public Schools superintendent Tawana Grover said there were five copies of the book “Looking for Alaska” spread among libraries at Grand Island Senior High and Barr and Walnut middle schools. Grover said there was one copy of the book “It Feels Good to be Yourself” at Howard Elementary School. GIPS said the books “GenderQueer” and “Brave Face” were not available in any of the district’s libraries.

All three districts have procedures which allow parents to request an exception to certain materials for their children.