The More You Know: CPS Books, Dress Code, & Communication
November 11, 2021
It has been brought to our attention that a group of parents are expressing concerns regarding four specific issues. As always, Cabot Public Schools would like to take this opportunity to clarify and be transparent with our patrons.
The following four items are taken verbatim from the list of concerns that are being shared:
1) “School Curriculum, including but not limited to, pornographic and sexually aggressive books available in our district libraries”
As we recently shared with our patrons, our school board requested an internal audit of the more than 87,000 books available in our 5th-12th grade libraries. Of the 21 books questioned, none of the titles were found in our Cabot Middle School North, Cabot Middle School South, and Cabot Junior High South library collections.
Since no one formally requested a reconsideration of any titles for the remaining books located in our libraries, the district has implemented the process on its own as the complainant. Each school has a Reconsideration Committee that consists of staff, parents, and community members. We will begin an immediate reconsideration process for the titles that remain in circulation. The committee will thoroughly review the books in question and provide a recommendation to the district.
As for our district curriculum, it is regularly reviewed and is formally reviewed on a scheduled basis. The Textbook Adoption Cycle can be found here. For any curriculum concerns, please contact our Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Aaron Randolph, at Aaron.Randolph@cps.k12.ar.us or our Director of K-6 Curriculum, Stacy Allen, at Stacy.Allen@cps.k12.ar.us.
2) “School Handbook Policies, included but not limited to, allowing sexual disparity between male and female dress code”
We are not aware of other immediate concerns with existing school handbook policies other than the dress code policy. School dress codes have become another nationwide issue. If there are student handbook concerns that we are not aware of, please let us know.
Regarding our dress code policy, Dr. Tony Thurman and Assistant Superintendent Michael Byrd have recently met with student advisory groups on all of our 5th-12th grade campuses. Concerns these advisory groups have brought forth include the length of shorts, holes in jeans, and the covering of arms. We are currently researching dress codes in other school districts and have identified parents that will be asked to assist us as we recommend changes to handbook policy.
Please understand that no one is ever “disciplined or punished” for not following dress code. However, students are requested to meet the requirements of the policy to remain at school.
3)“School Board Policy change that does not allow for time each meeting to allow parents/and or students to air their grievances according to Amendment 1, of the US Constitution.”
It is important to note that any parent or patron can contact board members at any time to air their grievances. Board member emails and phone numbers are accessible on our district website and can be found here. Board members welcome communication from our patrons.
School Board members have directed district administration to develop a board policy for consideration pertaining to public comment to be included in future additions and modifications to the Cabot Public Schools Board Policies.
Board members have also directed administration to begin the process of installing video equipment in our boardroom to allow meetings to be viewed on our website.
4) “Request for a letter from Cabot School Board condemning the letter written by US AG claiming parents who question the school board are “criminals” for voicing their opinions through emails or person. Opposing views is not violent. Raised voices is not violent. It is protected under the 1st Amendment.”
Under no circumstances does the Cabot School Board agree with this verbiage. In fact, it was not written at the state or local level and the Cabot School Board was certainly not involved. Cabot School Board members and our administrators believe communication should be constructive and focus on recommendations that are in the best interest of our students.