The Dublin Board of Education was unanimous in its support of a decision by a district committee and Superintendent David Axner not to remove a book from the Eli Pinney Elementary library after a parent challenged its appropriateness for younger children.

The Dublin Board of Education was unanimous in its support of a decision by a district committee and Superintendent David Axner not to remove a book from the Eli Pinney Elementary library after a parent challenged its appropriateness for younger children.

"And Tango Makes Three" is an award-winning children's book that is based on a true situation at the Central Park Zoo in Manhattan.

In the book, two male penguins share a nest and are given an egg to raise as their own by the zoo's keeper.

The parent, Christopher Barr Hill, wrote in his challenge letter that the book was not appropriate for young children.

The book, he wrote, "is based on one of those subjects that is best left to be discovered by students at another time or in another place."

Board member Stu Harris researched the board's options based on a 1982 United States Supreme Court decision that set down the basic guidelines for determining when books may be removed from school libraries as a result of their content.

"I think any decision other than affirming the superintendent's decision could possibly be a violation of the First Amendment," he told his fellow board members.

It comes down to a conflict between a student's right to read a book and the board's right to control what they read, Harris said. If the book was not yet in the library, the board has more leeway whether or not it belonged there. But, because it is already there "the First Amendment is very strong in what the board can do."

"We appreciate the concern raised by the parent in this case," Axner said. "The district is complying with applicable laws by allowing the book to remain in the library."

Also at the meeting, Axner asked the board to approve a resolution that would allow students to stay home on Election Day in November to alleviate concerns about their safety.

The majority of the district's schools are also polling places, Axner said, and there are concerns for student safety because of the number of people in school buildings on that day.

A pilot program of the Ohio Department of Education allows a school district to petition for a day off for their students using set criteria. Teachers would report that day for professional development.

Axner expects approval by the state and once it is received parents will be notified.

The board also approved the hiring of William Sternberg as the new principal of Bailey Elementary, replacing Phil Niemie who is retiring at the end of this school year.

Axner also introduced new Grizzell Middle School principal Thomas Jones, who was approved at the last board meeting.

cpreston@thisweeknews.com