An elementary school librarian in Massachusetts rejected a donation made by First Lady Melania Trump to her school’s library.
CBS Boston reports that Cambridgeport Elementary School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, was one of a select number of schools chosen by the White House to receive ten Dr. Seuss books for National Read a Book Day.
The White House chose one school from each state to send the books.
Liz Phipps Soeiro, Cambridgeport Elementary’s school librarian, penned an editorial for the Horn Book Family Reading Blog explaining why she would not accept the first lady’s gift.
“My students have access to a school library with over nine thousand volumes and a librarian with a graduate degree in library science. Multiple studies show that schools with professionally staffed libraries improve student performance,” wrote Phipps Soeiro.
Phipps Soeiro added that her school “does not have a need for these books” while claiming that underfunded school districts who are shutting down their libraries due to school choice programs could put the books to better use.
But her critique of the first lady’s gift did not end there. She also criticized Melania’s choice of books, calling the Dr. Seuss titles “tired cliches” for children’s literature.
“You may not be aware of this, but Dr. Seuss is a bit of a cliché, a tired and worn ambassador for children’s literature. As First Lady of the United States, you have an incredible platform with world-class resources at your fingertips.”
Phipps Soeiro added that the Dr. Seuss books contained illustrations “steeped in racist propaganda” and offered an alternate list of ten books that include two titles advocating for the legalization of illegal aliens.
Cambridgeport Elementary School said that the opinions expressed in Phipps Soeiro’s editorial do not reflect the school district or the school itself. They released a statement clarifying that she has been “counseled” on school policies regarding political activity:
In this instance, the employee was not authorized to accept or reject donated books on behalf of the school or school district. We have counseled the employee on all relevant policies, including the policy against public resources being used for political purposes.