Local activist says Conejo School Board vote on racy book not what it seems


By Tony Dolz

The Conejo Valley Unified School District (CVUSD) board meeting resulting in approving “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian”, as a book selection in the core reading list, divides the community along familiar lines.

The ruling class influencers in media, academia and the intellectual elites line up with the Progressive notion that “there is no book content that is inappropriate for children under 13”.  These ruling class influencers, and the harm that they can inflict on anyone opposing their views or agenda, is what makes it difficult for either side to be honest about the debate over appropriate books for children 13 years of age (some children have not attained their 14th birthday on the 9th grade).

The Board Meeting exposed important facts and practices relative to the book selection.  The process was clearly explained by Dr. Boone in a PowerPoint presentation.  I will superficially cover some of it, but let’s be clear, facts did not rule the evening.  Instead, it evolved into a peaceful, yet emotional display. 

Dr. Boone made a presentation about the process by which a small number of books, out thousands that are available, end-up in the core reading book selection.

An argument could be made that the book selections are what one would expect given the stakeholders that play a role in the process.  These include political appointees to the California Department of Education, a non-elected group.  The supporters of the book approval, that attended the meeting, point to the credentials and professional background of some of the people in the committees engaged in the book selection process.  The process includes teachers from the school district.  The supporters of this book’s approval showed a tilt heavily in favor of the wise advice of the experts over the right of families and parents to make the decision of what is of value and appropriate for their own children.

This is the sort of factual information that surfaced at the meeting:

(1)   The book selection process, lauded by the supporters of the book approval, a process that may take a year or more to resolve, and involving many respected stake holders, is then presented to the School Board for approval.  Without the School Board approval no book can make it into the core book reading selection.  Bottom line is that the School Board approval “is” part of the process and it is the most important since without it, no book can be used in the classroom.

(2)   The State of California recognizes the parent’s right to opt-out of certain things, however, opting-out of reading a book selected to be in the core book reading list is not one of those things parents are allowed to opt-out of.

(3)   Although the parents cannot opt-out of reading the approved books, the district and principals have in some cases allowed parents to opt-out.  There have been 12 instances dating back to 1984.  The Superintended declared that there was no official policy, so parents cannot count on it.  When questioned, Dr. Boone and the Superintendent acknowledged that the classroom teacher did not have to honor a parent’s request to opt out, meaning the student would be under obligation to read and participate in the classroom discussion, if a grade is to be given for the class.  In essence, there is no right to opt-out as of today.

(4)   There was a discussion of whether School District policy, for example, granting the right to opt-out, could supersede the State Department of Education guidelines.  The consensus at the meeting pointed to the conclusion that DOE guidelines superseded School District policies.  (However, I believe that is false and I pointed it out to three of the School Board members).  Department of Education Code:33308.5. (a) Program guidelines issued by the State Department of Education shall be designed to serve as a model or example, and shall not be prescriptive. Program guidelines issued by the department shall include written notification that the guidelines are merely exemplary, and that compliance with the guidelines is not mandatory.

Those attending the School Board meeting, who supported the approval of “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian”, saw the 4-1 vote to accept the book, as a colossal victory for their persuasion.

I see it differently,

(1)   As it is August, the book will in most likelihood not be in play for teachers to select nor have the curriculum material to support it in place this school year.  This was brought up by School Board member Sandee Everett and confirmed by the Superintendent.

(2)   It is likely that there is an existing Board majority in favor of establishing an opt-out policy.  (Providing an option will find broad support because Parental Rights, especially over children 13 years and under, is well established in law and practice.  There is a legal and traditional recognition of objection on the basis of strong held beliefs, faith, moral and ethical grounds.  More recently, in respect of minorities and to avoid triggering students who have being victimized in ways covered in the content of the curriculum, there is broad recognition that these victims are or should be protected.

(3)   Whereas year after year revisiting heated debates over the approval of specific books is unsavory, even if well within the right and duties of the School Board, once there is an official parent opt-out option, teachers will be reluctant to select the most controversial of books because it would call for many difficult and time-consuming remedies.  In my opinion, this would tilt the scales in favor of parental rights and individual freedom.

(4)   Having re-occurring debates over acceptance or rejection of a specific book would yield different results given the composition of the School Board members.  On the other hand, the establishment of an official policy on opting-out would outlive the ebb and tides of sentiments with changing School Board composition.

(5)   In the unlikely event that a teacher would chose to include in the curriculum a book expected to invite serious pushback from the community (once an official opt out policy is in place), the parents who find the content objectionable, would then opt out their children and safely avoid what they might consider intolerable.

Conclusion:  The great diversity of families and parents in the Conejo Valley will be best served by avoiding heated School Board meeting debates and instead enjoy the comfort of knowing that with an official opt-out option, teachers, parents and the students will all get their wish, receive value and avoid divisiveness.




Tony Dolz lives with his family in Thousand Oaks.  He has run for the local School Board and is a local community activist.

Get free Citizensjournal.us BULLETINS. Please patronize our advertisers to keep us publishing and/or DONATE.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Barry Gabrielson

Just finished reading “Diary of a Part Time Indian” and “Glass House” two books in the curriculum, teachers want to indoctrinate our children in these destructive books. First book written for 3rd graders, inappropriate in a 9th grade reading class, filled with filth. Content is about false narratives and stereotypes about the majority, salacious pictures and language, boys sexuality, alcoholism, racism, bad parents, being poor, unfair society, who is to blame for this environment, lack of hope. His view is that white parents in white schools dont care about their children, dont show up, participate, etc. Glass Castle intent, bad white neglectful parents, male perversion with young girls, being poor, racism, sex, bullying, identity, alcoholism, hillbillies, lack of morals and values, unfair society, etc. If we changed the character on both books, made Part Time Indian a young white male moved from suburbs to the inner city, all minority school, and Glass Castle to a minority couple, both books would not be taught at CVUSD, 5-0 no vote. To unfairly categorize someone or something as being the same as another person or thing, usually in a negative manner is immoral and prejudicial. Its ok to do this to the majority here at CVUSD, paint the majority as all the same, only minority stereotypes wont be tolerated in this district. It’s a complete indoctrination of our impressionable young children, to promote this nihilist atheist left wing ideology, promote hate, anger, resentment, mistrust and division towards others, to falsely place all of the blame on the majority in our society, to promote social justice, reparations, etc. No need to read the classics, or read positive books about our society, people working together to make a better society. No need to read “1984, Brave New World, Atlas Shrugged, The Pearl”, to give these children a different perspective of this world. More information is provide, the better for children to figure this all out. It has to be one sided, based on identity politics, taught by teachers who support this one side fits all ideology, not to educate, but to indoctrinate. No other views are allowed to be taught or discussed in this secular classroom. Rise up parents, don’t allow this indoctrination of your children, do this for the children.

Ronald L. Lyons

Amen to that

Tom Snyder

The district should add some conservative books to its core reading list, such as MODERN TIMES and THE INTELLECTUALS by Paul Johnson, THE CONSERVATIVE MIND and THE ROOTS OF AMERICAN ORDER by Russell Kirk, and EDMUND BURKE AND THE NATURAL LAW by Peter J. Stanlis.

Tom Snyder
Simi Valley, CA

William Hicks

We’ve all heard the comment that all politics is local. In general that’s true, but remember “common core” has its tentacles coming from both the State and Federal governments from well entrenched progressives.

In order to really make lasting changes, we can’t just concentrate exclusively with our local School Boards. Common core needs to be yanked out leaf, stem, trunk and root wherever it exists. Otherwise, like 0-Care, it will continue to be reincarnated and morphed into something that can’t be removed.