A Project for Better Journalism chapter
Campus Beat, Featured Article

Text book tragedies

There is a stress a student feels when they receive a damaged book. Did they know there was writing in the pages or that the title page was creased? Will they be the ones held accountable for the damage? If the student didn’t damage to book they aren’t held accountable for the damage. Since there has been an increase in damages: water damage, broken spines, bent covers and torn pages precautions have been put in place.

“I’ve never thought about how I treat my books. I toss them around, sit on them, use them as a table. Sometimes, I even fall asleep on them,” Sarah Hernandez, 11, said.

When students return their books to the library they are checked for new damages. The book is either cleared or the student is fined for damages. There was an increase in textbook damages last year. Which resulted in a $6,260 worth of repairs. Books needed to be placed in new covers, cleaned and have pages replaced. According to the library media technician Kerri Silverwood the increased in damages was a result from the rainy weather last year. During rainy season students used books as umbrellas, the water damage caused mold to grow between the pages. Water damage can be repaired but books with mold needed to be replaced.

“It is expected that when you start school, you will have the necessary equipment needed to succeed. So when one of the tools you receive damaged or unusable it puts a stop to your success,” Zulema Bernal, 11, said.

Natural wear and tear to books is normal. Some of the textbooks have been given out for twenty years and are still in good condition. Newer books like the math one textbooks have only been given out for two years and already need to be replaced. Silverwood believes that it’s due to publishers making books with cheap materials. The covers are becoming less sturdy and easier to damage. Compared to the older books that were purchased before. The textbooks books that have been noticed to have more damages are the ones students have to carry to and from school. To avoid scratched covers the library provided free book covers for students to use. They believe that the precautions will help protect books from future repairs.

“I don’t want to give anyone a bad book. I think everyone deserves good quality books,” Silverwood said.

Textbooks are provided to students because of the Eliezer Williams, et al., vs. State of California, et al. class action lawsuit. Where San Francisco students filed a lawsuit against CA. education agencies for not providing student proper access to; instructional materials, safe school facilities and qualified teachers. The suit became known as the Williams Act. It requires schools to provide students with the necessary supplies like textbooks. The Williams Act is the reason why the school had to pay of the repairs made to the textbooks.

“No matter what the property is whether it’s the desks, walls, books or chairs we have try as hard as we can to respect the property, and keep it in good condition so that other students can use it to succeed,” Assistant Principal Jamie Lee said.