Amie Bowman

Scott District resident and treasurer of parental activist group Moms for Liberty's local chapter told the Fauquier County School Board Aug. 22 that their group submitted 14 more books containing "sexually explicit material" to the school system for removal. 

An additional 14 books currently available in the Kettle Run High School library have been submitted to the school system for review and reconsideration by the members of the parental activist group Moms for Liberty.

During a School Board meeting Aug. 22, Amie Bowman, a Scott District resident, and the treasurer of the local Moms for Liberty chapter, told board members that their group had submitted an additional 14 books for the school system to consider removing from its libraries because they contain “sexually explicit content.” The total list of books submitted by the group now totals 17 (listed below).

  • “Deogratias: A tale of Rwanda,” by Jean-Philippe Stassen

  • “Out of Darkness,”  by Ashley Hope Pérez

  • “A court of mist and fury,”  by Sarah J. Maas

  • “Girls Like Us,” by Cristina Alger

  • “Sold,” by Patricia McCormick

  • “Milk and Honey,” by Rupi Kaur

  • “Seeing Gender: An illustrated guide to identity and expression,” by Iris Gottlieb

  • “What Girls Are Made Of,” by Elana K. Arnold

  • “Almost Perfect,” by Brian Katcher

  • “Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic,” by Alison Bechdel

  • “Nineteen Minutes,” by Jodi Picoult

  • “Last Night at the Telegraph Club,” by Malinda Lo

  • “Crank,” by Ellen Hopkins

  • “Looking for Alaska,” John Green

  • “Fade,” by Robert Cormier

  • “Eleanor & Park,” by Rainbow Rowell

  • “Flamer,” by Mike Curato

According to Bowman, one of those books, "Deogratias," a historical fiction graphic novel that tells the story of the Tutsi genocide in Rwanda, is scheduled to be reviewed by Kettle Run staff on Aug. 29. 

Bowman is claiming school administration and the Kettle Run principal, Meaghan Brill, have made the process of reviewing books difficult for parents to participate in. Bowman also says it's a slow-moving process. 

Bowman claimed she and other complainants, who submitted "Deogratias" for review, asked Brill to reschedule the meeting date because of scheduling conflicts, but their request was rejected.

She also noted the full list of books could take potentially up to 17 months to review because only one book may be considered at a time. 

“Unfortunately, the situation with Kettle Run has not been as pleasant to experience,” Bowman said. 

According to the school system’s policy regarding complaints about books, after someone submits a “Request for Reconsideration of Learning Resources” form to the principal, a review committee is established. 

The policy says the committee must consist of the principal, the library media specialist, the classroom teacher (if involved), a parent and/or student and the complainant. The committee is then tasked with the following:

  • Read, view, or listen to the challenged material.

  • Read several reviews, if available.

  • Check standard selection aids.

  • Talk with persons who may be knowledgeable about the material in question and similar material.

  • Discuss the material.

  • Make a decision to recommend retaining or withdrawing the material.

  • File the recommendation of the committee with the principal and the division superintendent or his/her designee.

  • Notify the complainant of its recommendation and the disposition of the challenged material.

Tara Helkowski, director of communications and community engagement at Fauquier County Public Schools, told FauquierNow in an email the school system would “follow the process outlined in School Board Policy for each book, and the school-based review committee is just one step in the process.”

“We anticipate that the school-based review committee ... will need to meet several times for each book; therefore, the process may be lengthy,” she said. “While it will take some flexibility to coordinate meeting schedules for all involved, we are committed to working through the process with fidelity.”

Bowman said as of Thursday the school system has not rescheduled the Aug. 29 book review meeting.

“Given that the entire structure of the book review process pits the people who chose the book versus the people who are contesting the book, not having the other side of the meeting really reinforces the idea that the review committee has a rubber stamp to retain the book,” Bowman said. 

Bowman also accused the school system of not having language defined in its policies to help them determine whether a book that contains “sexually explicit” or “pornographic” material reaches the threshold of having “literary merit.”

“There was no rubric for any of the concepts included in the definition nor scoring mechanism nor any discussion of how to evaluate books by the criteria in the definition,” she said. “Essentially, not only has [the school system] not been using a strict test of literary merit to make book purchasing decisions. They don't even have such a test.”

Bowman told FauquierNow in an email the school system provided her with the following definition of “literary merit” obtained from the site englishtextualconcepts.nsw.edu.au/: “Literary value does not include the values expressed or implied in a text but refers specifically to how one can attribute worth to a text in terms of its value to ‘civilisation’, a culture, a society, or a particular group of people. Each of these groups may attribute a different value to the text and use different criteria to do so.”

This definition does not appear in the school system’s official policy guidelines. But the school’s guidelines do address “sex and profanity”, which are subject to “a stern text of literary merit.” 

The guidelines say that while “pornographic” and/or “sexual incidents or profanity” may not automatically disqualify a book from being accepted into a library’s collection, the decision to allow such content is determined based on whether “the book presents life in its true proportions, whether circumstances are realistically dealt with, and ... the book is of literary value. Factual material of an educational nature on the level of the reader shall be included in the literary collections.”

Bowman said during the meeting that the list of 17 books her group has submitted for removal is only “the tip of the iceberg” and noted that many more of the school system’s libraries also contain books with “sexually explicit material.”

Last month, FauquierNow reported a list of 47 books – 29 (61 percent) of which feature LGBTQ characters, themes, or discuss LGBT issues and six more that also explore issues of race, ethnicity, and/or having a disability –  Bowman’s group was reviewing and considering for submission.

Five of those 47 books, including "Girls Like Us," "What Girls Are Made of," "Fun Home," "Last Night at the Telegraph Club" and "Flamer," have been submitted for reconsideration by the group.

Natalie Erdossy, a Scott District resident and vice chair of the Fauquier Moms for Liberty chapter,” told School Board members during the meeting “requesting sexually explicit content” be removed from school libraries “in no way impacts representation.” Rather, she said it ensures “the school library is a safe space for all children.” 

“There are more than three dozen books in the FCPSOne library that we know of that present normalized LGBTQIA plus and minority experiences and do so without containing sexually explicit content,” she said. “Reasonable standards, age appropriateness are time tested and applicable here as they are with any other media available within our schools.”

(34) comments

dave strut

Banning books, that should go well for the conservative base, what a friggin joke.

Larry Lyons

"Wherever they burn books, in the end will also burn human beings." - Heinrich Heine

And banning books based on this right wing ideology is the first step.

Matthew Mcclanahan

Think the ladies need to first have a roundtable discussion on what the word Liberty means

Faith Myrvold

Liberty means that women can object to sexually explicit material being available to 12 year olds. It’s not complicated

Larry Lyons

I personally do not care what you read or do not read. Don't like a book? Don't read it. Who died and made you Queen to decide what others can or cannot read.,

Faith Myrvold

I don’t care what you read or don’t read. Obviously you didn’t read the article. This is about PARENTS having a say in what THEIR CHILDREN are exposed to and their tax dollars go to. Exposing children to sexually explicit material is grooming behavior. Why are all

Leftists obsessed with sexualizing children? It’s disgusting

William Cummings

She reads the Bible to her children

And is afraid of the real world

Donkey semen

The rapist

Gets to marry the victim

John Dutko

Poetry right here

Will Williams

It all started with huckleberry finn and the liberal idiots. It was offensive but a trans having oral is ok?

John Dutko

I don't agree with glitter vampires and werewolves having sex, but Twilight is still in schools.

How bout this one: Is it ok to have ANY writings in a young adult book, or is it the "freaky stuff" that you don't agree with? There are tons of books in the young adult section that go into discussions about intercourse that the bulk of pearl clutchers don't know about.

Because it's not about the sex, it's about going after LGBTQ lifestyles.

Sacagawea Lax

"Because it's not about the sex, it's about going after LGBTQ lifestyles."

You've mentioned this before, but it's still very broad. I agree entirely with your points above, but you and I both know it's more so not necessarily about "LGBTQ", it's about drawing the line between what children (Not high school aged students) but what younger children are being exposed to and the influence it can have on a child's psyche/behavior/etc. The question is where should the line be drawn? Not understanding why it's not o.k. for parents if younger school aged children to be concerned about sexual conditioning and rhetoric accessible to them in a library. I don't think young adult books need to be banned in high school unless a general consensus can be met on the material that is universally inappropriate,not marginalized material.

Why should younger school aged children be conditioned to consider genitalia surgery and cross dressing as they are vulnerable human beings? Or consider kissing the same sex is the "new normal?" Why would we condition our children to think and behave in this way? What's the end goal? Inclusivity?

Sacagawea Lax

This is about age appropriate material and how it should be accessed,distributed, and discussed within public schools. Specifically, grades K-8. High school? Different story. In a high school library, the books merely should be classified under their respected genres. There's really nothing else to it in my opinion. The sexuality of the material is of little importance, so long as it is not promoting one to engage in violence or hate.

Age restricted content. What's the harm in that? It's always been relative.

Larry Lyons

For people like Scacagawea,

What conditioning? /that is you projecting your proclivities onto it.

Seriously I have no objection to your not reading something, but who died and made you Queen to decide what people can or cannot read. Don't like a book, fine don't read it.

Sacagawea Lax

"People like *Sacagawea",

Start with this:

https://www.gaysagainstgroomers.com/about

Just for you too, no Breitbart link! Straight to the source.

John Dutko

@Lax

That groomer link is a bit biased and most likely not set up with the best intentions

https://www.npr.org/2022/05/11/1096623939/accusations-grooming-political-attack-homophobic-origins

https://www.hrc.org/press-releases/new-report-anti-lgbtq-grooming-narrative-surged-more-than-400-on-social-media-following-floridas-dont-say-gay-or-trans-law-as-social-platforms-enabled-extremist-politicians-and-their-allies-to-peddle-inflamatory-discriminatory-rhetoric

Larry Lyons

Interesting if you look at the domain record. What are they trying to hide - In other words most likely as biased as BriefFart.com or InfoWarts.

Sacagawea Lax

@ Larry the PhD.

As usual, worthless idioms and no substance. Pretty much all you're capable of contributing on this forum. Seek a new hobby.

Faith Myrvold

It’s about the LBGTQ people incessantly trying to groom young children.

Larry Lyons

The first book bans were done by the Puritans.

Shannon Fernandez

Wow so a group of stay at home Karens make up a club with a few people, and expect schools to spend years reviewing some books…Us taxpayers are going to be the ones stuck with the bill at the end of the day. It is going to take a lot of people a lot of time to do this. There is so much kids desperately need to be successful in their education. This is not one of them. You can shelter your children, and they don’t need to read the books. This is absolutely ridiculous. That lady looks like her face got ran through a souvenir penny press. She is a joke.

Paul Benedict

Boy, you impressed me with your condescending attack on someone you perceive to be a stay at home mom, and then top it off by criticizing her appearance. I think you are suffering from liberal supremacy. There is no cure for your kind. And if you are going to criticize people's appearances and for being involved in schools, have you seen pictures of some of the abortion advocates protesting at Supreme Court Justice's homes?

Larry Lyons

That is how they characterize themselves. EXCEPT, the organizer is a paid lobbyist. Other members work in conservative groups.

As for the abortion protestors, that is pure hypocrisy on your part. Dr. Fauci for instance has now has to have security around his place, because of the threats from right wing nutters like you and trespasser - one of which was armed and carried handcuffs and zipties. There are also all those cases of protestors at the homes of gynecologists, several of which have been murdered by anti-abortion fanatics. You have no reason to whine about protestors given the past behavior on the right wing, It is pure hypocrisy on your part.

Sacagawea Lax

"Dr. Fauci for instance has now has to have security around his place, because of the threats from right wing nutters like you and trespasser"

Yeah! Because the president and members of PETA are so right ring and dangerous!

[yawn]

Larry Lyons

Sacagawea - So you think it is OK for someone to violently threaten scientists because you object to reasonable public health restrictions. Nice to see where you're coming from.

Sacagawea Lax

@ Larry the PhD

As usual, your missing the point of what I was saying. Not only that, you spewed fake news and implied a falsehood. Not surprised with that one!

Faith Myrvold

She is a taxpayer too. And you are trying to marginalize a woman for her looks or her job? You’re a joke.

John Dutko

This human potato should really think about the backlash the Democrats can use for the midterms.

I think I should go to the next meeting and talk about Greek mythology and how Zeus was a horndog impregnating anyone and everything.

Sacagawea Lax

You'll go viral if you're dressed as Zeus and speak from the first person.

Just a thought.

[lol]

Faith Myrvold

Liberals are going to see the backlash. Youngkin was just the start

Larry Lyons

You mean like all the recent losses you wingnuts have had? Or the numbers of Republicans who were supposedly shoe-ins, and now are in a real fight? Some red wave. More like a pale pink trickle.

Faith Myrvold

Just wait, Princess. Parents aren’t going to allow you groomers to get their children. Congrats for being on the side of child molesters

Sacagawea Lax

Literature101...

Don't judge a book by it's critic(s).

[tongue]

Shahzad Rahman

Don't loan the book from Library. Why curtail other's freedom to read the books. The irony of her "freedom T shirt" is lost on this Mom.

Larry Lyons

Wing nuts never get irony.

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