Challenged book upheld in split decision
The school board voted 3-2 Thursday to uphold the second appeal committee's decision to retain the book in the classroom curriculum. Chastity Lesesne, a parent of a Watauga High School student, challenged the book's inclusion on a list of required reading in the sophomore English honors class curriculum at Watauga High School, arguing that insufficient alternatives were provided to students.
School board members Ron Henries, Brenda Reese and Barbara Kinsey voted to uphold the second appeal, effectively retaining the book in the sophomore English honors class curriculum. Board members Lee Warren and Delora Hodges voted against the motion.
A majority of the board first called the meeting to order at 7 p.m. at the Margaret Gragg Education Center and then traveled to the courthouse to reconvene the meeting at 7:20 p.m., upon the advice of a board attorney. The board had announced the decision to relocate the meeting from the center to the courthouse on Wednesday afternoon, which did not meet the 48-hour notice for announcing government meetings required under North Carolina open meetings law.
At the courthouse, more than 200 people gathered for the school board meeting.
The school board's initial agenda said that the board was to decide to fully or partially retain or withdraw the challenge resource, "The House of Spirits," upon completion of the appeal process.