D205 public forum raises concerns about ‘American Street’ book; Still under consideration for freshman English curriculum

By Chris Fox

The public-participation segment of the Elmhurst Community Unit School District 205 Board meeting included speakers who commented on the proposal to include the book “American Street” in the English curriculum for York High School freshmen during the 2023-24 school year.

A couple of speakers in the public forum read excerpts from the book that contained graphic and explicit language. Another speaker asked how books are selected for the curriculum. Some other speakers said they were in favor of the book being included in the curriculum.

Later in the meeting, the newly seated board voted to approve other instructional materials for the 2023-24 school year, but District 205 Superintendent Keisha Campbell noted that the district had decided to pause a decision on approving “American Street” due to the feedback received from the community.

Near the end of the meeting, Kara Caforio and Courtenae Trautmann briefly discussed “American Street.” Both board members stated they had read the book. Caforio said it was a good book, but she noted that it contains a lot of profanity. She said she was glad there would be some reflection on whether the book should be included in the curriculum for York freshmen during the 2023-24 school year. Trautmann, who has a child that will be a freshman at York during the upcoming school year, called “American Street” a “raw and powerful book.”