APPLETON - Elie Wiesel's "Night."
J.D. Salinger's "The Catcher in the Rye."
Those are just two of the books approved last year for Appleton Area School District's 9th grade curriculum.
But Appleton parent John Krueger says the public was kept in the dark about how the books were chosen. Krueger, who lives in Grand Chute, refused to be interviewed for this story.
The Milwaukee-based legal group, Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty – or WILL – filed an open meetings complaint last month on behalf of Krueger.
The complaint alleges the district committee assigned to choose the books failed to give notice of their meetings and did not meet in open session.
A list of 90 books was cut down to 24 by teachers and staff. Those were then publicly reviewed and ultimately approved.
"We believe we followed district policy and protocol," said the district's Chief Academic Officer Kevin Steinhilber.
Steinhilber says the complaint is grasping at straws.
"Once the committee made this recommendation, there was a 30 day window for staff and public to review the recommendations of the materials we're suggesting, to give us feedback," said Steinhilber.
"The public had no input and, more specifically, no insight into the workings of how they got down to that list of 24 to begin with," said Tom Kamenick, associate counsel for WILL.
Kamenick acknowledges the district carried out a review period, but feels its position in the complaint is warranted.
"We're looking to get a clear ruling from a court that these kinds of committees, created by the school board to review textbooks and other educational material, are subject to the open meetings law," said Kamenick.
WILL says the complaint is in the Outagamie County District Attorney's hands. FOX 11's calls for comment from the DA were not returned.
Steinhilber says Krueger has successfully challenged the district's reading curriculum before, getting book review criteria added district checklists.
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