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NHC school board temporarily removes the 'Stamped' from the district's classrooms

Audience at the September 1 public hearing
Rachel Keith
Audience at the September 1 public hearing

On Friday, the New Hanover County School Board voted 4-3 to temporarily remove the book, Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You from the district’s classrooms, but keep it in high school libraries.

Editor's note: This was a long and complicated public meeting, with a lot of facets. We'll be unpacking the hearing, and putting it in context, in additional reporting next week, and on next week's episode of The Newsroom.

The five-hour hearing was a crowded affair with over 150 people in attendance.

The audience heard arguments from Katie Gates, a parent of an Ashley High School student who wanted the book removed, and from Assistant Superintendent Dawn Brinson, who defended the district’s use of the book, with occasional support from Superintendent Dr. Charles Foust.

Board Member Hugh McManus, one of three members, which included Stephanie Kraybill and Stephanie Walker, opposed to removing the book, said the district did accommodate the student and the parents by giving them an alternate reading assignment.

“Those who do not read, do not learn. These AP kids will be the future leaders of our country. Everyone needs to know how other people feel, whether you agree or not is up to you, and that was clearly stated in the AP syllabus. It is a controversial class; it is a college-taught class,” he said.

Still, four of the Republican members, Josie Barnhart, Pete Wildeboer, Pat Bradford, and Melissa Mason, said they didn’t think the book was suitable or appropriate for instruction — and voted to remove it — and require the teacher to choose another “balanced” book for instruction. Books by the American economist Thomas Sowell were suggestions given by Gates.

North Carolina NAACP President Deborah Dicks Maxwell was in attendance and when the hearing was over said she was going to “walk out this door and seek counsel.”

Previous reporting

Rachel is a graduate of UNCW's Master of Public Administration program, specializing in Urban and Regional Policy and Planning. She also received a Master of Education and two Bachelor of Arts degrees in Political Science and French Language & Literature from NC State University. She served as WHQR's News Fellow from 2017-2019. Contact her by email: rkeith@whqr.org or on Twitter @RachelKWHQR