Lindbergh residents continue bid for book ban, Mehlville could follow

Lindbergh residents continue bid for book ban, Mehlville could follow

By Lucas Irizarry, Staff Reporter

Last month, Lindbergh parents began the process of an official challenge of 15 books in the high school library, mostly chosen for graphic sexual content.

The challenge was again the focus of non-agenda public comment at the Board of Education meeting Nov. 18, with some speakers pushing for the books to be removed from the library while the review process takes place. The full list of books can be found at

“These … books just are atrocious and have no part in a high school curriculum or library, so I’m calling for you in the next 30 days to remove these books,” John O’Fallon Bell said. “For a culture that values multitasking, that is not out of the question. This issue is not going to go away — it’s going to ripen and you need to be mindful of that.”

The Lindbergh material review policy is a process held by a committee of nine people — two parents, two library media specialists, one teacher, two students who are at least 18, LHS Principal Eric Cochran, and Jeremy Mapp, director of inclusion, equity and diversity. The committee will have to read all materials entirely and weigh their strengths and weaknesses while completing an official form with 15 questions about the content of the literature. 

The committee will send a recommendation to the Board of Education, but the board has final say on what happens with each material, and appeals can be made to the superintendent or the board based on the committee’s review. Chief Communications Officer Beth Johnston said there haven’t been any challenges in Lindbergh in the past 18 years.

The committee has already reviewed The Handmaid’s Tale and voted to keep the book, prompting an appeal by the petitioner to the board. The final decision will be on the consent agenda next month.

The materials stay on the shelves during the review process.

No opponents of the ban spoke at the Nov. 18 meeting, but in October speakers said the list of materials disproportionately targeted stories regarding racial minorities and the LGBT community. 

Lindbergh joins a running list of districts across the country where books are being challenged by parents, and the practice has been going on for as long as books have existed. Recent challenges, including Lindbergh’s, have seen citizens claiming specific mentions of sexual acts in these books will corrupt children and undermine parents’ authority to decide what their kids learn. 

John Struckhoff, a Lindbergh citizen, said he “briefly reviewed” the list of challenged books and has found “no value that can equate to workforce or societal contribution, just an attempt to normalize a bunch of social emotional sexual behavior garbage.”

While no books have been officially challenged in the Mehlville School District, citizens at the Nov. 16 Board of Education meeting spoke against the inclusion of generally similar books being challenged at Lindbergh.

Mehlville has a similar policy to Lindbergh for reviewing books if they should be officially challenged. In Mehlville’s case, the review committee consists of a building principal, a librarian, a teacher, a patron of the district and an administrator if needed. The committee reviews the material and can recommend one of three options to the complainant: removal, retaining with restriction or retaining without.

If the complainant is not satisfied they may appeal to the superintendent, who informs the board of the committee’s recommendation and the appeal. In that case the board will have final say.