Canadian School Purges Books Published Before 2008 In Bid For ‘Inclusivity’

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Grade 10 student Reina Takata took this photo of the bookshelves in her Mississauga high school’s library in her first week back to school this fall. Takata and others are concerned about a seemingly inconsistent approach to a new equity-based book weeding process implemented by the Peel District School Board last spring. (Reina Takata)

In a quest to be more “inclusive,” a Canadian school board in Mississauga, Ontario has decided to purge its library of all books published before the year 2008.

Erindale Secondary School in Mississauga, Ontario, ‘burned’ roughly 50% of its library book, including Harry Potter and the Hunger Games series, as part of a new “equity-based book weeding” implemented by the Peel District School Board earlier this year, according to the CBC.

The board insists it was following a wider directive from the Minister of Education to make learning resources more inclusive and reflective of the community.

Yes, a library with empty shelves sounds very inclusive…

Also purged were classics  like “The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank” and iconic children’s books like “The Very Hungry Caterpillar.”

Dianne Lawson, a member of Libraries not Landfills, says teachers told her The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank and The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle were removed from their school libraries as part of the PDSB weeding process. (Nicole Brockbank/CBC)

When asked WTF, the school board has been notably evasive, refusing to address whether books are being removed solely based on their publication date. Their statement, which claims books are removed if they are “damaged, inaccurate, or not checked out often,” doesn’t check out whatsoever.

10th-grade student of Japanese descent Reina Takata worries that significant portions of her heritage could vanish with this book purge.

Authors who wrote about Japanese internment camps are going to be erased,” she warned.

Official backpedaling

Given the mounting backlash, Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce finally weighed in, condemning the practice as “offensive, illogical, and counterintuitive.” He has since ordered the board to cease the book removals immediately.

The larger issue here is the increasing trend of over-correction in the name of “wokeness,” often leading to the vanishing of history, culture, and nuanced discourse. At what point does the push for equity turn into a frenzy of historical whitewashing? Erindale Secondary School may have given us the answer: when you arbitrarily remove 50% of your library in the name of inclusivity, you’re probably doing it wrong.

 

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