Nebraska taxpayer group says new books at OPS are ‘extremely objectionable’

WOWT 6 News Live at 6:30
Published: Nov. 1, 2021 at 5:13 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - The taxpayer group is at OPS headquarters Monday night to voice their opposition to the school board during its regularly scheduled meeting.

For the district, it’s all about diversity and options for the students. A couple of school board members said a very small percentage of books may need to be reviewed.

For example, one board member said if a topic isn’t being taught until middle school, the book with the same topic shouldn’t be in front of a first-grader.

It’s not clear when the review will take place.

“We believe the purchases are a misuse of property taxes.”

One book on sexual orientation is called “Uncle Bobby’s Wedding,” another book on gender identification is called “Jacob’s New Dress.” Also, books on immigration, social justice, disabilities, religion, foster care, deployment, and a number of other subject matters.

Topics centered on diversity and inclusion handpicked by experts within the district. In the summer of 2020, the school board approved the purchase of nearly 3,000 book titles.

Not for the building libraries but for the age appropriate classroom libraries within the elementary schools. The books aren’t part of the curriculum, according to OPS officials but are available for students to read independently.

“It’s okay to have books representing all kinds of minorities and ethnic groups,” said Doug Kagan.

However, Doug Kagan with Nebraska Taxpayers for Freedom objects to spending more than $5 million on books his group doesn’t think are appropriate for elementary students.

“They have books on lifestyles a lot of people don’t agree with. One of the books shows, we think, illegal immigration in a favorable light. Illegal immigration is just that, illegal. We don’t like the ideology of some of the books,” said Kagan.

The Omaha Public School District is the largest and most diverse in Nebraska with 53,000 young people. School officials believe that when children see themselves in a book, that’s what diversity and inclusion are all about.

6 News was told if families have questions or concerns about the content of a book, they can talk to the teacher and principal. OPS also has a review process to address it.

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