Sur-prise, sur-prise, sur-prise, as Gomer Pyle used to say: Panels hand-selected by the leadership of Fairfax County Public Schools came down on the side of, well, the leadership of Fairfax County Public Schools when it comes to keeping two controversial books on shelves of high-school libraries.
The decision arrived last week, with the school system wrapping itself in a smug, self-righteous proclamation of its support for free speech.
The books were yanked after a parent complained (and started reading passages at a School Board meeting) in September. Taking them off the shelves and instituting a review process seemed little more than the school system’s attempting to smother the brewing conflagration in the run-up to the gubernatorial campaign – how’d that work out? – and then come back after the election was over with a preordained decision.
We haven’t read the controversial tomes, so we’re in no position to judge their literary merits or lack of same. But affirming the decision to return the books to libraries, and in particular doing so in such a haughty manner, sends a clear signal that school boards have no intention of toning down their we-know-best-so-shut-up-and-sit-down mentality directed at the public.
School Board seats are next up in 2023. Let’s see if critics of the current board will be ready.