Sexually Explicit Materials
Books in a public school library are purchased with tax payer dollars. Those dollars are limited as well as the space which holds them. The result is that only so many books can be purchased and it is unreasonable and unattainable that any and every book will be able to be purchased for a school library. There are several other resources such as (free) community libraries and book stores, for children or their parents to obtain titles they desire. A book being on the shelf in the public school is essentially endorsed by the school and should be expected to provide he HIGHEST LEVEL of Educational Excellence.
Sadly, this is not the case. The level of materials in schools across our nation - and even in KASD - containing graphic detailed descriptions of sexual acts and (sometimes) pictures is shocking. Here is just one example in Kutztown.......
Book Challenge: Gender Queer & All Boys Aren't Blue
Just prior to Nov. '21 election, two books were brought to our attention both of which contain either pictures or detailed text of sexual acts. Excerpts from Gender Queer and All Boys Aren't Blue are available here, but proceed with CAUTION given the content. Note that both of these books are readily available at the local Firefly bookstore for purchase or even free at the Kutztown Community Library.
These books were challenged and went through the standard process of a committee review. The committee voted to keep BOTH books for their overall 'literary value.' Gender Queer was brought before the entire school board after the High School Principal appealed the ruling.
Our three PAC-endorsed candidates were the ONLY ones voting for the removal of Gender Queer from the school, but the motion failed 3-6. Several weeks later, one of our PAC-endorsed candidates brought forward a motion for parental consent for Gender Queer. Thankfully that passed, but barely (5-4).
Curating Books vs. Banning Books
Kutztown Taxpayers/Parents raised issues because we expect our schools to select materials that provide educational enrichment given there is finite space and taxpayer money to purchase materials for a school library. That's considered curating your collection, not banning books. As an example, when a parent chooses to purchase one book as opposed to another, based on educational value, that is not ‘book banning’.
The ‘book banning’ argument is an attempt to silence and distract from the crux of the issue ------the overtly sexually explicit material purchased with taxpayer dollars stocking shelves in our public school libraries.
It is also important to note that every media outlet between The Reading Eagle and WFMZ that covered 'banned books' declined our offers to show the images/text at issue. The media outlets themselves know they would be liable for showing these images/printing this text----- so why is it ok to be on our public school library shelves?!
Common sense says everyone makes choices about the books that grace the shelves in their homes. We all have criteria.
We hold strongly to the fact that schools should be choosing books with the highest educational value. Help us elect School Directors who share these common sense values to protect our children!