School system removes 2 books with graphic sex from libraries | Entertainment

THE CHURCH OF THE FALLS. Goes. (AP) – A northern Virginia school system said it was removing two books from school libraries, including a pictorial memoir containing explicit illustrations of sexual encounters involving children, after a parent expressed concern at about them at a school board meeting.

Stacy Langton, a Fairfax County school system parent, asked the school board at a town hall meeting Thursday about the availability of books in high school libraries. As she quoted 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 secondary school libraries, not primary schools.

On Friday, the school system initially announced that it was conducting a review. Later that day, he said he was removing Maia Kobabe’s “Gender Queer” and Jonathan Evison’s “Lawn Boy” from circulation pending further review. Two committees comprised of staff, students, and parents will evaluate both books and make recommendations to the Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services “who will make a final decision on whether FCPS continues to provide access to these books. in our high school libraries,” the school system says.

Gender Queer publisher Oni Press released a statement on Friday saying that limiting the book’s availability is “shortsighted and reactionary.”

“Oni Press supports Maia Kobabe for the truth and strength to share their story, and hopes to be a home for those who want 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 also for people seeking 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 through 12.

Indeed, one or both books are available in school systems across the region, including schools in Loudoun County, Arlington County, Alexandria and Montgomery County, Maryland, according to 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.

She said she heard about the books earlier this month at a school board meeting in Texas and became curious if they were available. Sure enough, her son’s books in the school library.

The books “are actually a lot worse than I ever imagined. Too bad,” she said.

“Gender Queer”, 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 been winners of the American Library Association’s Alex Awards, which annually recognize “ten books written for adults that have special appeal for young adults ages 12 to 18.”

Langton said the fact that school board members felt compelled to interrupt her when she read graphic passages aloud illustrated her point about the inappropriate nature of the books.

“I was very angry that they cut me off,” 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 face masks in schools, an anti-racism curriculum and policy changes requiring 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 authoritarian response to Langton’s concerns reflects the divide. between activist school board members and parents. .

“It is very unfair to demonize and marginalize parents because they have serious concerns,” Nomani said.

School board member Karl Frisch offered a defense of sorts on Twitter, saying Thursday night that “nothing will disrupt our board’s commitment to LGBTQIA+ students, families and staff. Nothing.” But he didn’t say whether his tweet was in response to Langton’s comments. He declined to comment on Friday.

The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.

Jeremy S. McLain