The textbook cover seems innocuous enough: a cute lemur, perched atop a leaf, gazes at the reader. Inside, the authors cover mundane high school biology concepts like photosynthesis and mitosis. But two pages have run afoul of the school board in Gilbert, Arizona, and by next school year, those two pages will — one way or another — be removed from the textbooks forever, Business Insider is reporting.
Campbell Biology: Concepts And Connections was reviewed, and approved, by the Arizona Education Department, according to The New York Times. However, the Gilbert School Board believes that the textbook’s two offending pages put the books in violation of a 2012 Arizona law that requires schools teach “preference, encouragement and support to childbirth and adoption” in place of abortion and birth control. The two offending pages mention contraception, sexually transmitted diseases, and at least one form of hormonal birth control.
Gilbert School Board member Julie Smith, who is also a parent of a child in the Gilbert school district, first brought up her concerns about the material in the textbook.
“It comes down to, it’s the law, and we need to be in compliance with the law. If people don’t like the law, they need to take it up with their state legislator. I don’t write the law. It’s my job to uphold it.”
Ms. Smith, who admits she is devoutly Catholic, claims that by teaching her son about contraception, the textbook has violated her religious rights as a parent.
“I’m Catholic; we do not contracept. It is a grave sin.”
Gilbert Public Schools Superintendent Christina Kishimoto has opposed the board’s move to censor the textbooks, according to KTVK in Phoenix.
“I believe there are potential legal challenges including copyright infringements as well as First Amendment infringements.”
Nevertheless, the school board’s decision to censor the textbooks has been made, and Ms. Kishimoto has been — albeit reluctantly — put into the position of having to come up with a plan to deal with the offending textbooks: they will be gathered up at the end of the year, the school board will censor the information — via black markers or even scissors, if necessary — and the subject matter will be removed from biology teachers’ lesson plans.
This is not the first time a school textbook has been the subject of controversy among parents. Earlier this year, according to this Inquisitr report, parents in Massachusetts were upset about a religion book that appeared, to some parents, to favor Islam.
Do you believe the information presented in the Gilbert, Arizona high school biology textbook is offensive and should be removed?
[Images courtesy of: IMG Kid, New York Times]