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Alachua County School District makes changes to book challenge process

Alachua County Public Schools is making changes to its policies and procedures on book challenges.

It comes after three residents challenged 12 books last fall — the highest number of challenges Alachua County ever received.

Under the new guidelines, book challenges will go directly to school principals instead of a school-level library advisory council. To save principals from having too much involvement and personal responsibility for making a decision, the principal will immediately forward the challenges to a district-level library advisory council. That council will meet twice a month to hear objections.

From there, the council will make recommendations on whether to remove a book. If they think a book should be removed, it'll go to the school board where members of the public can weigh in.

Áine Pennello is a multimedia reporter and Morning Edition news anchor for the College’s Innovation News Center. She has a background in video news and documentary and most recently worked at WCBS Newsradio in New York City covering local news and the tri-state area. She has also reported internationally, freelancing from Paris and Berlin during the Syrian refugee crisis. During the Syrian Civil War, Pennello reported from the Golan Heights while on a reporting grant from the International Center for Journalists.