Kandy over at unschooling-dotcom recently posted a letter from homeschool author, Sonya Haskins stating that the program she was scheduled to offer at her local Jonesborough, TN library had been canceled. Ms. Haskins explains why:
I am an author and homeschooler. My latest book is about homeschooling – The Homeschooler’ s Book of Lists. I have done programs and book signings at the local libraries for my other books and there was one scheduled next week for THIS book. Yesterday morning (Friday 2 Nov) the mayor called the library and told them that they must send an immediate notice to the newspaper canceling this program. The local school superintendent had called the mayor (and the mayor then told the librarian) that the library is a PUBLIC building paid for by PUBLIC taxes and they are not and would not ever be allowed to sponsor any sort of program related to homeschooling, even though all the other rules for scheduling a program/book signing were followed. They do sponsor other programs/book signings and this one was already publicized. The mayor said today to someone who actually got through to him that he didn’t care if the program was from a public school, private school, or a bunch of witches, they don’t steal money from the school system like homeschoolers do and he would not allow this program to take place.
After reading her letter, I checked for any news about the situation that may be posted online. I did find a video report from News Channel 11 here along with a brief text report, Library pulls program at request of county mayor.
Washington County Mayor George Jaynes was reported to have told the local librarian:
“He said she had to retract it and cancel the program because it’s a public building paid for with public taxes and they have an obligation to support the public school system and doing anything about home schooling was a conflict of interest,”
The Mayor would not appear on camera, but he told Channel 11 News by phone:
“I said it was not right to have a book signing promoting something against our schools,”
The County Lawyer is now involved as well and he was quoted as saying:
“The librarian has described it to me as a mis-communication. The employee felt like the mayor was telling her to cancel the program. The mayor told her that’s not what he intended. He wanted them to reconsider whether they were going to have these types of programs,” Rambo said.
Rambo discussed the issue with library staff.”County officials cannot influence their decisions in that regard, they have to run that library independently,” Rambo said.
Well, I’m certainly glad to hear that! I hope that Mayor remembers that homeschoolers do pay taxes and do vote, since his term appears to expire in 2010.
Sonya Haskins program is back on so if you are near the Washington County Jonesborough Public Library Thursday at 2:00 p.m and you would like to hear her share about homeschooling, stop by. I suspect you may want to arrive early as it may be a full house!
Perhaps the Mayor should attend the meeting? At the very least, he might want to read Ms. Haskins book.
Posted by Mary