Puberty book in Ludlow middle school causing controversy among parents, administration

Hampden County

LUDLOW, Mass (WWLP) – A book in the library of Paul R. Baird Middle School in Ludlow has been creating controversy among parents of students.

Parents posted on a social media forum voicing their concerns about a book in the middle school’s library that shows illustrations of changing bodies, growing up, sexual health and other topics. Parents have expressed opinions that the book should not be in the library without parents’ permission and have brought the issue to the school’s administration.

On Wednesday, Ludlow Public School’s Superintendent Todd Gazda released a statement stating that two of the books have been removed and discussed the process that goes into solving these issues and what administration is doing now.

Gazda said this has happened twice this year and in both instances, parents’ concerns were addressed and an agreement was reached that the works were not appropriate for Middle School level students.

He also said in other situations staff members have had discussions with the librarian that have resulted in access to material being limited to students based upon age and parent consent.

“They simply have to notify the building principal and it will be entered into our library system so that their student or child isn’t able to check out those books. So we respect their wishes without allowing them to impose their viewpoint on the whole community,” Gazda said.

When issues like this arise, the school has policies and procedures designed to address certain disagreements in an organized manner such as a committee comprised of school committee members, a district librarian, two teachers, and the principal of the building.

Gazda said that is not what happened this year.

“Unfortunately, what has happened this year has escalated beyond a discussion of instructional materials to personal attacks against members of our staff, particularly online through social media. This is not the first time individuals have posted disparaging comments about our staff online. It is, however, one of the most egregious examples that has happened in quite some time.”

– Todd Gazda Superintendent of Schools, Ludlow

Gazda goes on to say that the school strives to provide a safe, respectful and supportive learning environment for students. It is their goal to work with students on not only academic content but also on how to raise concerns and express differences of opinion in a respectful manner.

All of their librarians follow the American Library Association for the selection of the materials, according to Gazda.

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