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Parents And Politicians Across The USA Target Literature In Schools In New Book Wars

Parents And Politicians Across The USA Target Literature In Schools In New Book Wars

There have been several cases highlighted recently from several schools across the USA causing politicians to speak out publicly

Parents and politicians across the USA target literature in schools in new book wars that is progressing across the states.

Parents And Politicians Across The USA Target Literature In Schools In New Book WarsFor example, for more than a year after its publication, author George Johnson’s memoir ‘All Boys Aren’t Blue’ was met with universal acclaim.

The book, an account of Johnson’s upbringing as a queer Black boy, landed on ‘best of 2020’ lists at Kirkus reviews and the New York and Chicago public libraries.

‘There were no attacks until around eight weeks ago,’ Johnson told the Daily Beast.

The shift occurred bear the beginning of the 2021 school year, when a coordinated campaign against the teaching of certain race-related and gender-related topics plunged school board meetings into panic.

Johnson’s book and others attracted the furore of adults in Missouri, Pennsylvania, Texas and elsewhere.

FLORIDA

But it was in Florida that ‘All Boys Aren’t Blue’ became the subject of a more insidious tactic.

There, a Flagler County School Board member filed a criminal complaint against the book.

They accused it of containing pornography.

The accusation is on the rise against authors of children’s and young adult literature, with school board members, far-right paramilitary groups, and politicians slinging allegations of pornography at books they don’t like.

Johnson’s was not the first young adult book targeted with bogus pornography allegations.

‘SPEAK’

Author Laurie Halse Anderson’s 1999 book ‘Speak’ won wide critical praise for its sensitive telling of a high schooler overcoming the trauma of sexual assault.

Throughout the early 2010’s, ‘Speak’ became an occasional conservative punching bag, with commentators accusing it of containing pornography in 2010 and in 2014.

Now, the tactic is back, but it’s more coordinated than in years gone by, Anderson says.

‘I noticed a real upswing about two, three weeks ago,’ Anderson told The Daily Beast.

‘That was the first time that I got the sense that this is a coordinated effort around the country.

‘That’s very disturbing.

‘Before that, I think any censorship attempts that I’d heard about or been contacted about have been just a parent coming to the school board, or occasionally somebody with a larger agenda.’

LARGER AGENDA

Today, that larger agenda is the top of conservative legislative wish lists and Fox News segments.

Critical Race Theory, (CRT), a field of study that examines institutional racism, particularly in the legal system, became a boogeyman on the right, with Fox News decrying the academic field thousands of times in Spring of 2021.

Much of that blitz focussed on critical race theory’s supposed appearance in K-12 schools (it’s more of a higher-education field of study).

A crop of conservative organisations, many of them newly formed by people who did not have children in the school districts they targeted, expanded their focus to a wider swath of classroom topics related to race, gender, and sexual orientation.

Conservative lawmakers joined the trend, with nine states passing ‘anti-CRT’ laws, some of which have faced court challenges on the grounds that they drastically limit the educators’ ability to teach history and current events.

In some states, that means the threat of pornography allegations.

TEXAS GOVERNOR

This month, Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced an effort to ‘remove pornographic and obscene books’ from the state’s schools.

Abbott specifically championed the removal of books about gender from a Texas school’s library.

‘For example, Keller Independent School District was recently compelled to removed a book from a school library titled “Gender Queer: a Memoir” by Maia Kobabe after complaints of the book’s pornographic drawings.’

Efforts to remove Gender Queer were actually spearheaded by the parents, according to the Texas Tribune.

Author Maia Kobabe, who intended the book for young adult audiences, recently penned a Washington Post op-ed describing the book’s story as part of a vital coming-of-age narrative for nonbinary people.

‘The book has been out for two and a half years,’ Kobabe writes of the sudden backlash, asking: ‘Why now?’

WEAPONIZED PORNOGRAPHY ALLEGATIONS

Other far-right factions have also weaponized ‘pornography’ allegations, specifically targeting Kobabe’s book.

In part of their ongoing effort to upend school board meetings, the paramilitary group the ‘Proud Boys’ recently stormed a suburban Chicago school board event to rage against Kobabe’s book, calling it pornographic.

The group, all adult men, included two who were recently arrested for violent offenses at political events, accused students who defended the book of being paedophiles, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Anderson said the accusations are wrong (for instance, they frequently conflate ‘pornography’ with books that address LGBTQ issues) and deliberately  difficult to fight against.

FIGHT AGAINST PORN

‘If they characterise books like this as pornography, then that puts the person opposing them having to work through the argument that, “If I’m against it, you’re saying that means I’m for pornography in schools,” which is absurd of course,’ she said.

‘It’s manipulative, it’s sneaky.’

Ultimately, Johnson said, the fight over schoolbooks isn’t about buzzwords – it’s about memory.

‘When we’re gone, books will still be here.

‘I think that’s really what the fear is, because books become a time capsule of the period you were in,’ they said.

Growing up queer, Johnson encountered few adults or books that shared their experiences, leaving them without a roadmap for adolescence.

ROADMAP FOR ADOLESCENCE

‘I thought, in many ways, “Am I alone in this? Am I by myself in this? Am I the only person to feel this?”’ Johnson remembered.

‘So, when you have texts like mine and several of the other books that are being attacked by the system, people who were like me 20 years ago, they don’t have to think that they are the only person experiencing it.’

For all the adult outcry over schoolbooks, both Johnson and Anderson said they’d heard from students who have become staunch defenders of school library books.

In Florida’s Flagler County Schools, where All Boys Aren’t Blue faces a pornography charge, a group of students led a protest last month, condemning the book’s removal from library shelves.

Ironically, as the books’ opponents decry critical race theory, some of their efforts support the theory’s key arguments.

These are that the legal system has historically been used to crack down on people of colour.

‘It is not lost on me, the history of white people, specifically white women who use the criminal justice system as their personal concierge service when things don’t go their way,’ Johnson said.

‘And so what is happening, the criminal complaint, all of that, that was not by chance – it was by design.’

9 BOOKS START A FIGHT OVER CENSORSHIP IN A UTAH SCHOOL DISTRICT

Canyons School District removed the controversial titles against policy, and they are now under review.

Salt Lake County Library System Librarian Wanda Mae Huffaker holds four of nine books that have been removed from schools in the Canyons School District and placed under review on 23rd November 2021.

A list of nine books has started a bitter battle in a Utah school district over pornography and censorship and who can control what students read.

The latest culture confrontation began when a mom first emailed administrators at Canyons School District about the titles that she found concerning.

She had heard about them on social media and discovered they were in the high school libraries in her district’s suburbs at the south end of Salt Lake County.

THE POWER OF SOCIAL MEDIA

‘There are many more but it is exhausting, mentally, watching and reviewing these books’ content,’ she wrote in a letter that has since been shared widely online by conservative groups.

Most of the books she listed focus on race and the LGBTQ community, including ‘The Bluest Eye’ by Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison and ‘Gender Queer,’ the graphic novel about the author’s journey of self-identity that has been at the centre of a growing movement over banning books in school districts across the country.

The mom copied on her email a member of Utah Parents United, the group that has led efforts against masking in schools and in favour of dropping a social-emotional learning program, also at Canyons, because it linked to a site about sex.

AND FROM THERE, DEBATE OVER THE BOOKS ERUPTED

Canyons spokesman Jeff Haney said the district has received hundreds of emails about the books and from parents who want to add more to the list for being ‘too explicit.’

Utah Parents United has also since released an hourlong video encouraging its members to call their local police departments when they come across materials like this at their school libraries.

Pushing back against them is a growing list of advocates.

Librarians and civil rights attorneys who support keeping the books on library shelves say this conflict is about limiting what viewpoints students can seek out on their own with a library card.

Especially diverse viewpoints from historically marginalised groups.

None of the titles, they stress, are required reading.

REQUIRED READING

Richard Price, an associate professor of political science at Weber State who tracks censorship in school districts, said: ‘If you don’t want to look at it, then you don’t have to check it out.

‘But I fear what this group is trying to do is forbid all people from reading them.

‘They’re trying to parent for all parents.’

In response to the crossfire, the district has decidedly to temporarily pull the original nine titles from library shelves until it can further review them and its own policy for handling challenges.

Four of the 9 books that have been removed from schools in the Canyons School District and placed under review on 23rd November 2021 are The Bluest Eye, Gender Queer, Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov and Beyond Magenta by Susan Kuklin.

UNDER REVIEW

‘The Bluest Eye’ by Toni Morrison is about an 11-year-old Black girl growing up in Ohio that includes scenes about racism and molestation.

‘Gender Queer’ by Maia Kobabe, which has drawn particular attention for its cartoon drawing of oral sex, but it also covers the confusion around young crushed and being yourself in society.

‘Beyond Magenta’ by Susan Kuklin, is a nonfiction book based on interviews with six transgender and gender-neutral young adults.

‘L8r, g8r’ by Lauran Myracle, the third book in a series written in instant messages about three friends navigating through school – which parents have protested because it includes drug use and an inappropriately flirtatious teacher.

‘Lawn Boy’ by Jonathan Evison is about a young Mexican American boy examining what it means to be Brown in the USA.

‘Lolita’ is by Vladimir Nabokov and is the only traditionally classic novel on the list which tells of the story of a professor’s paedophilic relationship with a 12-year-old girl.

‘Monday’s Not Coming’ by Tiffany Jackson, is a fictional story about a Black girl who goes missing and whose disappearance is dismissed as ‘just another runaway.

This book delves into racism, mental illness, friendship, and consent, and received the Coretta Scott King-John Steptoe Award for New Talent.

‘The Opposite of Innocent’ by Sonya Sones is a story about a teenage girl with a crush on one of her parents’ male friends.

‘Out of the Darkness’ by Ashley Hope is about the relationship between a young Mexican American girl and a Black teenage boy in 1930s Texas.

PROBLEM WITH POLICY

The mom stood at the podium and turned to page 200 in the book.

She began to read aloud.

The excerpt started with one character telling another: ‘Get your hand off my but.’

From there, it gets more explicit, detailing an older cousin molesting a younger boy.

The mom, Jessica Anderson, told the school board for Canyons District that she found the book at Alta High School in Sandy.

‘This book should never have been available to any student,’ she added during the school board meeting on 8th November.

One board member urged her to stop reading.

Another, Mont Millerberg, shook his head and thanked Anderson for bringing it to their attention.

He added: ‘My question is not if those should be taken out or not – that’s intuitive.

‘My question is, “How the hell did they get in there in the first place?”’

ALL BOYS AREN’T BLUE

Anderson was reading from a book, ‘All boys Aren’t Blue,’ by LGBTQ activist George M. Johnson, which she and others with Utah Parents United are calling to be added to the list of titles to be pulled.

They say every book in the district needs to be reviewed for sexual content.

‘The current policies and practices are not working,’ Anderson said.

Many of the books in Canyons School District’s libraries are not directly reviewed by the school librarians who place them on the shelves.

Some are given to the district for free, for instance, and placed in the collection without any more formal process.

That’s typical in most schools.

ABILITY TO RAISE CONCERNS

But the districts current written policy, approved most recently in May 2020, only allows someone with a direct tie to a school – or a student who attends there, a parent of a child who attends there, or an employee who works there – to raise concerns about a book in that specific school’s library.

The mom who sent the first email has students in middle and elementary school in Canyons.

And the books she raised alarms about are in four high schools in the district: Alta, Brighton, Corner Canyon and Jordan.

Haney said if someone objecting to a book doesn’t fit the criteria in the policy, then the district’s board is instructed to ‘respond with silence’ and ignore the complaint.

CONSERVATIVE BOARD

The board, which leans conservative and represents a more right-learning area of the county, has decided that approach doesn’t work, after hearing Anderson read the explicit paragraphs.

It is now redrafting the policy to be broader and allow for anyone to bring up concerns that will be heard by the full board.

Haney said a committee has already met twice to work on the revisions.

A new draft is expected to come before the board this month at its regular Tuesday meeting.

During that discussion, a staff member talked about how the initial changes would create a process for any patron to raise concerns about a book and for librarians to more carefully comb through books coming in, based on criteria around age-appropriateness.

CONCERNS ABOUT CENSORSHIP

Those who oppose removing the books note that the policy does still state that titles are supposed to ‘remain in use during the challenge process’ until a committee can read them and decide if they are appropriate for students.

They argue that Canyons violated that by taking the books way from students before that plays out.

The ACLU of Utah has called it ‘a reminder [that] constitutional protections cannot be simply ignored.’

A joint statement from the Utah Educational Library Media Association, Utah Library Association and Utah Library Media Supervisors said the process must be followed to protect the First Amendment and all students’ rights to access diverse literature.

RIGHT TO ACCESS DIVERSE LITERATURE

The state’s largest teacher’s union has now joined them, as has the National Coalition Against Censorship.

Several other national groups are signing on too, including the Authors Guild, the National Council of Teachers of English and PEN America.

Each has written a letter to Canyons District, urging that the books are returned to the shelves.

Even Republican Utah Governor Spencer Cox cautioned against a knee-jerk reaction during his November news conference.

‘I’m not saying every book should be in every classroom,’ the Governor said.

‘But let’s be thoughtful about it.

‘Let’s take a step back, take a deep breath and make sure that we’re not doing something we’ll regret…

‘Any student of history knows that banning books never ends up well.’

POLICIES

State Senator Kathleen Riebe, D-Cottonwood Heights, is considering running a bill in the upcoming legislative session.

It would require all public K-12 school districts and charters to follow a set process to review books under challenge before removing them from libraries.

Without set criteria, she and others worry that schools and school districts could easily throw out any material considered controversial by one parent; that one obscenity or sex scene taken out of context could get a book tossed.

Libraries aim to expand their readers’ perspectives, including providing books on subjects outside of their comfort zones, and an interested patron should be able to access such titles, book defenders say.

‘When people can learn these things and read books, you can be so much kinder and compassionate and see outside of your bubble,’ said Wanda Mae Huffaker, a librarian with the Salt Lake County library system.

INTELLECTUAL FREEDOM

Huffaker has studied intellectual freedom and defended books against being censored in Utah schools.

When Davis School District pulled the book ‘In Our Mothers’ House’ about lesbian moms, from its shelves in 2012, she helped get it returned.

And the district was required to pay out legal fees and agree in a settlement never to remove a book again based solely on its LGBTQ content.

Huffaker also notes that curriculum – what students must learn in the classroom – is different and separate from content in libraries, and she asserts they cannot be held to the same standards.

TARGETING THE LGBTQ EXPERIENCE

The book that is causing the most division on the list of nine titles in Canyons School District is ‘Gender Queer’ – considered the top banned book in the USA right now.

Huffaker says it’s currently available in Salt Lake County’s public libraries, where it has also been challenged but remains on the shelves.

‘When I read that one, I thought I don’t understand what that feels like because I’ve never been there,’ she said.

‘And it made me appreciate so much and to relate to that.

‘It opened my eyes.

‘That’s what literature does.’

Huffaker, who is 64, said she recalls a little girl who frequently came into the Tyler Branch in Midvale where she works.

One day, the librarian asked her how many brothers and sisters she had.

The girl struggled.

She said she had two brothers, two sisters and one sibling that was both a boy and a girl.

Huffaker said that experience, shortly before reading ‘Gender Queer,’ also opened her eyes.

And now she asks more gender-neutral questions about siblings.

WHAT MESSAGE ARE PEOPLE TRYING TO SEND?

She worries what message removing the book sends to students like that or students who are LGBTQ and looking for a book that shows their experiences.

Huffaker believes those opposed to it are turning only to the controversial pages of the graphic novel, which does include some graphic depictions, and not considering the book as a whole.

Troy Williams, executive director for Equality Utah, added: ‘This is about censorship.

And it is immoral to try to deprive minority students in Utah from their culture and the voices that reflect their lives.’

After the book was banned in Texas, author Maia Kobabe told the Texas Tribune: ‘I also want to have the best interest of young people at heart.

‘There are queer youth at every high school – and those students, that’s [who] I’m thinking about, is the queer student who is getting left behind.’

NOT TRYING TO ERADICATE BOOKS

Utah Parents United, though, insist that the group is not trying to eradicate books about the gay community.

Thy say their target is explicit sexual content which they call pornography – both written and drawn in the form of the cartoons in ‘Gender Queer.’

When asked for comment, the group said: ‘This is our statement,’ and shared tens of images from each of the books on its list.

Some showed excerpts of explicit scenes, with pages detailing the use of condoms and lubricants, sexual positions, and one encouraging masturbation.

Others were screenshots of rape scenes.

SHOCKING

‘It’s just so shocking,’ said Brooke Stephens, the curriculum director for Utah Parents United.

‘I think “Gender Queer” needs to get out now.’

She said the scene in the graphic novel where the main character is forced to perform oral sex on another man is beyond inappropriate for high schoolers, with those as young as 14 being able to check it out in Canyons School District.

‘This isn’t about the left or right deciding no Dr. Seuss or no Tom Sawyer,’ Stephens added.

‘It’s not about debateable books – it’s about explicit porn.’

But Price, the professor studying censorship at Weber State, who is nonbinary and uses they/them pronouns, said it’s not about porn.

NOT ABOUT PORN

The examples of sex in the books on the list, including ‘Gender Queer,’ aren’t about titillation, Price said.

They’re about relationship imbalances and manipulation – often real experiences from the authors that are meant to show the reader how the situation is wrong and warn them if they’re going through something similar.

‘It’s about figuring out where your boundaries are and drawing them.

‘That’s very healthy,’ Price said.

Amanda Darrow, the director of youth, family and education at the Utah Pride Center, said that’s especially important in a conservative state where it can be difficult to be LGBTQ or talk openly about it.

LIMITING BOOKS ABOUT BEING BLACK

Emma Houston, who works on diversity issues at the University of Utah, also worries that the targeted books are largely experiences of race.

Of the nine books, six directly address racism.

‘It’s saying that we’re removing your lived experience – it’s saying that individuals who look like you are not valued,’ said Houston, special assistant to the Universities Vice President of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.

She’s particularly concerned about Toni Morrison novels being removed.

Morrison, an award-winning author, wrote about what it means to be Black.

Utah Parents United say they object to ‘The Bluest Eye,’ though, because of a rape scene.

And Stephens points to her four adopted children, who are all Black and attend Davis School District (where there have been severe cases of racism reported) as a way to say that, to her, it’s not about race.

RACE ISSUES

She says, though, that she believes parents should individually talk about race issues with their children.

For instance, she does not support discussion of critical race theory – which academics define as the history of race and slavery as a founding principle of America – in the classroom.

There is no evidence it’s being taught in K-12 schools in Utah.

But Houston says that should absolutely be allowed in books in the library.

And, she added, the rape in ‘The Bluest Eye’ is obviously brutal, but it’s a piece that can’t be overlooked.

It’s a part of the whole book as much as it’s part of a system that doesn’t help people of colour when they experience assault, she said.

SHE ALSO WORRIES WHAT’S NEXT

Will Asian writers be removed? Hispanic authors? Will students only see one perspective about being white?

Houston doesn’t support the books being removed, but if they are, she would like to see each book by an author of colour replaced by another, to keep a diverse collection in school libraries.

In a statement, the NAACP of Salt Lake backed the review and said it believes all material should be age appropriate.

‘It is not about the titles but about the contents within these books that the NAACP is concerned about through these book challenges,’ said President Jeanetta Williams, in a statement.

‘The NAACP would like to see the process play out.’

Price said it would be unfair to ignore that the challenges from the books are also largely coming from straight white women, the professor believes.

And Price noted that’s been a trend across the USA, where book ban challenges are popping up in largely white suburbs that have been starting to become more diverse.

That includes where canyon School District sits in Salt Lake City.

‘IT’S EVERYWHERE’

Utah Parents United is organising to review books in every district in the state.

And Stephens has started a Facebook page where parents can report titles to her that they find concerning.

‘It’s everywhere,’ Stephens said.

‘I don’t think people know what’s inside these books.’

A parent in Washington County School District in Southern Utah sent a list of five titles to administrators that she took issue with being in elementary schools.

Those include ‘Julián is a Mermaid,’ which is a picture book about a boy who wants to become a mermaid.

There is also ‘The Hate U Give’ by Angie Thomas, that deals with racism and police brutality.

The parent said she objected to ‘the profanities in it.’

Washington County School District Spokesman Steven Dunham said the district is following a set process to review the books, with a committee that is expected to read all of each one.

He said districts should balance what’s age appropriate with providing diverse titles that represent all kids.

‘I also think it’s interesting how parents are challenging these books in our libraries,’ he added.

‘This is the place that they think their children are going to be corrupted.

‘But they are also giving them phones where they can look up anything.’

WEIGHING IN ON THE ARGUMENT IN JANUARY

The school board is expected to weigh in on the titles in January.

Haney, the Canyons spokesman, said the district there also cares about making sure the titles are representative.

He did a search of the library system in the district and found 102 titles with the keyword ‘transgender,’ 44 with ‘queer,’ and 31 with ‘LGBTQ.’

But now some parents are asking for a full catalogue of every book so they can review what’s available.

Possible solutions are just as debated.

Allowing parents to block books on a student’s account won’t stop them from looking at the same titles if their peers check them out, Stephens said.

And putting them in a separate office to check out is ‘othering,’ Darrow with the Utah Pride Center added.

Some students might also not want their parents to know what they’re reading, as it could reveal their identity, Darrow added.

This latest effort to ban books is the broadest and most organised Huffaker has ever seen, she said, and to her, seeing it play out feels like a campaign out of George Orwell’s ‘1984.’

PARENTS SEEKING CHARGES AGAINST WAKE COUNTY SCHOOLS

A group of Wake County parents have filed a criminal complaint against the largest school district in the state.

Accusing Wake Schools of distributing ‘obscene and pornographic’ material in the form of several controversial books.

The books in question are easily found online.

Parents who spoke with WRAL News don’t want the books available through the district and for their kids to have access to them inside the school.

The books are not taught inside Wake schools, but are found inside some of their libraries.

As for the district, they are aware of the complaint and are currently reviewing it.

Back in October, Lt. Governor Mark Robinson held a news conference saying he wanted three books he claimed were sexually explicit to be removed from North Carolina schools.

Julia Page watched that press conference, and she wanted to know more about the books in question, like ‘Gender Queer,’ ‘Lawn Boy,’ and ‘George.’

SHE TOOK A PEEK

‘Parents need to understand what we are talking about.

‘This is not regular sexual activity whether it is heterosexual, homosexual or transgender.

‘We are talking very explicit borderline porn.

‘You don’t even see this in a book called ‘Fifty Shades of Gray.’’

Page joined nine other parents and filed a criminal complaint against Wake County Schools to have three books banned from the district.

The complaint landed on the desk of Wake County Sheriff Gerald Baker, who said he will review the complaint.

But the District Attorney gets the final say over whether it’s criminal.

‘This one is different.

‘The Sheriff’s office doesn’t do any prosecuting.

‘We do the charges if they meet criminal law,’ said Baker.

GENDER QUEER

One of the books ‘Gender Queer’ is a graphic novel with images that depict sexual fantasies and behaviour.

Page said it’s not about sexual orientation.

‘I want the books to come out of the public schools.

‘They have no business being in there,’ said Page.

And if the books are not removed, Page says she has no plans of backing down.

FAIRFAX COUNTY PARENTS DEMAND SCHOOL BOARD RESIGN

Parents held posters of school board members with the caption: ‘Resign FairfaXXX’

The parents gathered outside the Fairfax County School Board meeting this month, voicing their opposition to what they term paedophilia and ‘porn in schools’ after Fairfax County reintroduced two books containing depictions of sexual activity.

‘They’ve doubled down on porn in schools – they’ve all got to go,’ Stacy Langton, the Fairfax County mother who confronted the school board with images from the books in September, told Fox News.

‘Who’s in favour of porn in the schools?’

Parents protested outside of Luther Jackson Middle School, holding signs reading: ‘No porn in our schools,’ wearing t-shirts reading: ‘Mama Grizzly’ and ‘Papa Grizzly,’ and holding signs featuring photos of school board members with the text ‘Resign FairfaXXX.’

It marks the first school board meeting sine the FCPS reintroduced the controversial books ‘Lawn Boy’ by Jonathan Evison, which includes long sections of a boy reminiscing about explicit experiences he had at 10 years old.

And the other book was ‘Gender Queer.’

BOOKS REINSTATED AFTER BORAD FOUND THEY DON’T INCLUDE PAEDOPHILIA

Fairfax County Public Schools announced that it had restored the books to libraries after two committees – consisting of librarians, administrators, parents and students – had reviewed them.

The committee claimed the books are not obscene and no not contain paedophilia.

‘We’re here because we don’t want any porn in the schools,’ Angela Boyer, whose daughter graduated from a Fairfax public school, told Fox News outside the board meeting.

She continued: ‘We’re sick of them trying to put labels on it and call it what it isn’t.

‘Stop playing word semantic games.

‘It’s ridiculous and insulting.’

‘As a parent of kids that go to Fairfax County Schools, it doesn’t matter if it’s “Lawn Boy,” gay sex, straight sex, it shouldn’t be in schools,’ Justin, a father of two, told Fox News.

‘We don’t need to be paying tax dollars for sexual books.’

‘The school board is failing our children,’ Maria Sherwell, a mother of two children in FCPS schools, told Fox News.

She continued: ‘The attendance is down, the grades are down, children are being subjected to sexual surveys that are completely out of line,’ referring to an official FCPS survey asking students questions about their sex lives.

‘That porn is allowed in school, even for middle schoolers.’

TEACHER SPOKE OUT

Julie Perry, a history teacher at a Fairfax County public school who ran for a seat in the House of Delegates this year, told Fox News that she risked being ostracised and worse by speaking out.

She claimed that she was ‘terrorised for being a Republican’ at a previous school she had worked at.

Yet she said she felt compelled to protest still.

‘Child pornography is so dangerous for a child’s mind.

‘Their frontal lobes aren’t developed yet, so what they see sticks in their minds.’

During the school board meeting, some students and parents spoke in favour of the books, arguing that they provide important representation for LGBTQ students.

Other parents said that doesn’t justify ‘porn’ in schools.

Langton argued that such books ‘violate FCC’s regulations on obscenity,’ so media outlets cannot carry them, but FCPS allows them in libraries.

‘How is it that these materials, which cannot be shown to America, magically become legal when you step inside a school library?’ she asked.

Chris Henzel, a father of three, claimed that the committee reviewing Lawn Boy and Gender Queer consisted of ‘teachers and administrators who work for the school board and who could be counted on to give the answers they wanted.’

‘You’re not fooling anyone with your insider committee,’ he said.

Asra Nomani, a mother and Vice-President at Parents Defending Education, told Fox News that the school board’s actions helped Republican Glenn Youngkin win the Virginia Governor’s race.

‘These twelve Democrats helped elect Glenn Youngkin because they treated us so badly,’ Nomani said.

Even so, she added that ‘the parents reveal that we are not an overnight political operation.

‘We are here to stay.

‘Parents are wearing “Momma Grizzly” t-shirts because we are fierce.

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