The New York State Parent Teacher Association (NYSPTA) and the New York State United Teachers union (NYSUT), have teamed up to discuss two issues: classroom temperatures and Banned Book Week.

Kyle Belokopitsky, executive director of the New York State PTA, and Melinda Person, president of NYSUT, spoke with Capital Tonight host Susan Arbetter about a bill sponsored by state Sen. James Skoufis and Assembly Member Latoya Joyner that establishes a maximum temperature in school buildings and indoor facilities, as well as provides a definition of extreme heat condition days.

“Over this past month, in September, we had a heat wave, and our members were telling us that they were seeing classroom thermostats hitting 95 degrees,” Person said. “And the poor students were sitting there like wilted flowers in their classrooms trying to start their school year off right.”

This week, Oct. 1-7, is Banned Book Week. With the recent surge in the number of challenges to books in libraries and schools throughout the U.S., both the PTA and NYSUT want parents and families have a meaningful and accurate conversation with school principals, literary specialists and librarians on the resources that students have access to. 

“We do not support this movement,” Belokopitsky told Capital Tonight. “If a school district decides to ban a book, then you are taking a choice away from a parent and whether or not that parent wants that child to read that book.”