CHURCH OF THE FALLS. Virginia (AP) – A northern Virginia school system said it was removing two books from school libraries, including an illustrated memoir containing explicit illustrations of sex involving children, after a parent expressed concern to their topic at a school board meeting.
Stacy Langton, a parent in the Fairfax County school system, asked the school board at a public meeting Thursday about the availability of books in high school libraries. As she was quoting explicit passages from the book, a school board member interrupted her and berated her for using explicit language.
Another school board member defended the books saying they are only available in high school libraries, not elementary schools.
The school system initially announced on Friday that it was conducting a review. Later that day, he said he was removing Maia Kobabe’s âGender Queerâ and Jonathan Evison’s âLawn Boyâ from circulation pending further examination. Two committees made up of staff, students and parents will evaluate the two books and make recommendations to the Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services “who will make the final decision as to whether FCPS continues to provide access to these books.” in our high school libraries, âthe school system said.
The publisher of “Gender Queer”, Oni Press, issued a statement Friday saying limiting the availability of the book is “shortsighted and reactionary.”
âOni Press supports Maia Kobabe for the truth and strength in sharing their story, and hopes to be a home for others who wish to share their own stories with the world. The point is, GENDER QUEER is important and timely work that is an invaluable resource not only for those who identify as non-binary or genderqueer, but for those who seek to understand what it means.
Online inventory systems showed that both books were widely available at high school libraries in the Fairfax County system. One school, Robinson Secondary, serves students in grades 7 to 12.
Indeed, one or both books are available in area school systems, including schools in Loudoun County, Arlington County, Alexandria and Montgomery County, Md., According to the catalogs in line.
Langton, in an interview on Friday, said she had never spoken at a school board meeting before, but the books were so obscene she had to speak out.
She said she heard about the books earlier this month at a school board meeting in Texas and became curious if they were available. Indeed, the books she has in the library at her son’s school.
Books âare actually so much worse than I ever imagined. Too bad, âshe said.
âGender Queer,â an illustrated memoir, contains explicit illustrations of oral sex and masturbation. The novel “Lawn Boy” contains graphic descriptions of sex between men and children. Both books have previously won the American Library Association’s Alex Awards, which annually recognize “ten books written for adults that have particular appeal to young adults ages 12-18.”
Langton said the fact that school board members felt compelled to interrupt her when she was reading graphic passages aloud illustrated her take on the inappropriate nature of books.
âI was very angry that they cut me,â she said.
The controversy is the latest to confuse the Fairfax County School Board, and others across Virginia and the country, as conservative parents oppose masks in schools, the anti-racism agenda and policy changes demanding that transgender students are referred to by their preferred pronouns.
Asra Nomani, who attended Thursday’s meeting and is vice president of strategy and investigations at Parents Defending Education, a newly formed advocacy group, said the school board’s authoritative response to Langton’s concerns reflects the divide between activist members of the school board and parents. .
âIt is very unfair to demonize and marginalize parents because they have serious concerns,â Nomani said.
School board member Karl Frisch offered some sort of defense on Twitter, saying Thursday night that ânothing will disrupt our board’s commitment to LGBTQIA + students, families and staff. Nothing. âBut he didn’t say whether his tweet was in response to Langton’s comments. He declined to comment on Friday.
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