On its “About Us: Vision & Mission” page, Springs Charter Schools describes itself as “created and is operated by parents” and that “We value Parent choice and involvement, Using the community as the classroom, Fostering a child’s innate creativity, Collaborating to achieve goals, Building relationships, and Personalizing learning.”
Pacific Justice Institute (PJI), a conservative legal defense organization in California, is sounding the alert that Springs Charter Schools is violating the First Amendment by removing library books based on their perceived Christian content.
In an email, PJI states:
A parent of students enrolled at Springs Charter Schools was recently shocked to see some of the books being targeted for removal, including the well-known account of Holocaust survivor Corrie ten Boom, The Hiding Place. The parent contacted PJI after library personnel explained to her that they had been directed to remove Christian books, books by Christian authors, and books from Christian publishers.
PJI attorney Michael Peffer sent the school a cease-and-desist letter on August 22, citing long-established Supreme Court precedent that strongly disapproves of school libraries removing books based on opposition to their content or message.
Last week, the Superintendent of Springs Charter Schools, Dr. Kathleen Hermsmeyer, ignored the precedent in PJI’s letter and instead insisted, “We . . . do not allow sectarian materials on our state-authorized lending shelves.”
PJI President Brad Dacus commented, “It is alarming that a school library would attempt to purge books from religious authors. Indeed, some of the greatest literature of Western Civilization comes from people of faith. Are they going to ban the sermons or speeches of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.? What about the Declaration of Independence that invokes the laws of nature and nature’s God? We are calling on Springs Charter Schools to immediately reverse their ill-conceived and illegal book-banning policy.”
PJI responded to the school this week by sending a public records request and is prepared to take further legal action if the school continues to ignore its constitutional obligations.
To contact the Pacific Justice Institute:
Brad Dacus (916) 857-6900
Scrolling through the Springs Charter Schools’ very long list of “Administration Contacts” (Bloated Bureaucracy Alert!), I can’t find any contact info for its superintendent.
As if that could end my search. [smirk]
Kathleen M. Hermsmeyer
Ph: (951) 252-8800 ext. 891
Email: [email protected]
I also saw this on Springs Charter Schools’ very long list of “Administration Contacts“:
Enchanted Learning – Amber Zielinski (951) 252-8841
“Enchanted Learning”? I dread to ask what that is.
H/t FOTM’s MomofIV
Dr. Eowyn’s post orginally appeared at Fellowship of the Minds.