St. Johns County Schools Upholds Book’s Place in Curriculum

In a recent St. Johns County Schools meeting, a portion of the discussion centered on an objection to the book “The Great Cow Race” by Jeff Smith, which had been raised by a parent concerned about its appropriateness for first-grade students. The committee ultimately deemed the book suitable for grades prek and up, despite the concerns expressed.

Ashley Hamlin, a parent, initiated the debate with an objection to “The Great Cow Race,” citing its references to killing and torture and detailing an incident where her son used a term learned from the book that she found concerning. Hamlin’s contention was that the book’s content was not suitable for young children and advocated for its removal from first-grade classrooms.

The committee members engaged in a thorough discussion, using the school library media material evaluation checklist to navigate their decision-making process. They examined the maturity level of first-grade students and the impact that the book’s themes could have on them. The debate brought to the forefront the challenges inherent in selecting appropriate library materials for different age groups and the necessary balance between providing educational resources and addressing parental concerns.

During the meeting, the committee also scrutinized the guidelines for evaluating classroom and library materials more broadly. They addressed various criteria for potential objections to materials, such as suitability to student needs, depiction of sexual conduct, or violations of Florida statute. The committee voted on each of these points, determining that the content in question was neither pornographic nor prohibited by state law. The comparison of the book’s language with that found in other children’s literature was also noted, providing additional context for the committee’s considerations.

Advertisement

In the end, the committee recommended that “The Great Cow Race” was appropriate for students in prekindergarten and higher, effectively deciding to keep the book accessible within the school district’s libraries and classrooms. This decision underscored the complexities involved in evaluating educational materials and the School Board’s role in navigating between educational priorities and parental concerns.

The process highlighted the thoroughness with which the School Board approaches such objections. The meeting concluded with instructions for committee members to acknowledge their participation and return the materials and notes from the meeting.

Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.

Superintendent:
Tim Forson
School Board Officials:
Beverly Slough, Anthony E. Coleman Sr., Jennifer Collins, Kelly Barrera, Patrick Canan, Sarah Wilcox (Executive Secretary/Bookkeeper), Frank D. Upchurch, III (School Board Attorney)

Receive debriefs about local meetings in your inbox weekly:

Trending meetings
across the country:

Meeting Date
Filter by bodytypes
Agricultural Advisory Committee
Airport Advisory Board
Art and Culture Board
Beach Committee
Bike and Pedestrian Advisory Committee
Board of Elections
Board of Health
Borough Council
Building Committee
Cannabis Control Board
Cemetery Commission
Charter Revision Commission
Child and Family Services Board
City Council
City Identity Committee
Code Enforcement Board
College Board of Trustees
Community Appearance Board
Community Preservation Committee
Community Redevelopment Agency
County Council
Disability Advisory Committee
Economic Development Board
Elderly Affairs Board
Electric Advisory Board
Environmental Commission
Financial Oversight Board
Historic Preservation Commission
Housing Authority
Human Relations Committee
Insurance Fund
Land Use Board
Library Board
Licensing Board
Mental Health Commission
Municipal Alliance
Open Space Commission
Oversight and Review Committee
Parking Authority
Parks and Gardens Commission
Parks Commission
Pension Board
Planning Board
Planning Board,Zoning Board
Police Review Board
Property Assessment Board
Public Safety Committee
Recreation Commission
Redevelopment Agency
Rent Leveling Board
School Board
Sewerage Authority
Shade Tree Commission
Special Magistrate
Taxation & Revenue Advisory Committee
Tourism Board
Trails Committee
Transportation Board
Utility Board
Value Adjustment Board
Veterans Committee
Water Control Board
Women's Advisory Committee
Youth Advisory Committee
Zoning Board
Filter by County
FL
Bay County
Bradford County
Brevard County
Broward County
Clay County
County
Duval County
Escambia County
Gulf County
Highlands County
Hillsborough County
Indian River County
Lake County
Lee County
Leon County
Levy County
Liberty County
Manatee County
Marion County
Martin County
Miami-Dade County
Monroe County
Okaloosa County
Orange County
Osceola County
Palm Beach County
Pasco County
Pinellas County
Polk County
Putnam County
Santa Rosa County
Sarasota County
Seminole County
St. Johns County
Taylor County
Volusia County
Walton County
MA
Barnstable County
Berkshire County
Bristol County
County
Essex County
Franklin County
Hampden County
Hampshire County
Middlesex County
Norfolk County
Plymouth County
Suffolk County
Worcester County
NJ
Atlantic County
Bergen County
Burlington County
Camden County
Cape May County
Cumberland County
Essex County
Gloucester County
Hudson County
Hunterdon County
Mercer County
Middlesex County
Monmouth County
Morris County
Ocean County
Passaic County
Somerset County
Sussex County
Union County
Warren County
Filter by sourcetypes
Minutes
Recording