Margareta Grady, books

Scott District resident Margreta Grady, who opposes the proposal to remove certain books from Fauquier County Public Schools libraries, speaks at the July 11 School Board hearing.

The national debate over whether parents should be allowed to censor certain books from classrooms and libraries has spilled over into Fauquier County, and parents have begun using School Board meetings to not only air their grievances, but also to propose bans of their own.

During Monday's School Board meeting, several parents clashed over a proposal by a local chapter of a national parental rights organization, Moms for Liberty, to remove multiple books the group claims to contain “sexually explicit content” from school libraries.

Several parents belonging to the group, including Scott District resident Amie Bowman, Moms for Liberty’s treasurer, said their members have identified several books students are able to access through certain school libraries that they claim traumatize children and teens. The group also claims the books facilitate “long-term sex-related behavioral problems.”

“There's no question that sexually explicit content, including graphic descriptions of rape, molestation and incest, is in our schools,” Bowman said during the meeting on Monday. “[Fauquier] librarians and administrators are not contesting that fact. The point of disagreement is in whether the literary merit of these books outweighs the lewd nature of the content … ”

Although there has been no formal list of books published on the Moms for Liberty website or social media pages, FauquierNow reviewed screenshots of a list of 47 books (listed below) that several parents belonging to the group volunteered to review using the site Signupgenius.com.

An analysis by FauquierNow found that out of the 47 books reviewed by parents, 29 (61 percent) of them feature LGBTQ characters, themes or discuss LGBT issues. Six books in the list also explore issues of race, ethnicity and/or having a disability. 

Bowman and other members of Moms for Liberty did not respond to FauquierNow’s request for a full list of books the group is attempting to remove, and the Signupgenius.com website parents were using to review books has since been taken down. However, Bowman noted in an email to FauquierNow that “the process of reviewing books and filing forms requesting the removal of materials that do not meet FCPS1 guidelines is ongoing and will be a long-term project.”

Kim Ritter, who recently retired as supervisor of Library and Media Services of Fauquier County Public Schools, told the School Board during its June 13 meeting that although certain books in libraries are controversial, that does not always mean they should be prohibited.

“There are books that a parent is not going to want for their child. That is reality,” Ritter said. “And we invite you to come and have conversations with the librarian where a book might reside. And then there is a process for you to file a reconsideration.”

According to Fauquier County School Board’s policy 6-5.1, the procedure for filing a complaint about instructional/learning materials is as follows:

  • Any complaint should be filed in writing with the principal on the “Request for Reconsideration of Learning Resources” form, which may be obtained from the principal or the central office.
  • A committee consisting of the principal, the library media specialist, the classroom teacher (if involved), a parent and/or student and the complainant will convene and then review the complaint.
  • During the process of reconsideration, the learning resource will remain available for use.

If the complaint is rejected, the complainant may appeal to the superintendent and then the School Board. The decision of the School Board is the final judgment, and the challenged material must then be retained or withdrawn for a period of three full school years following the final decision.

Ritter said school libraries that serve students from pre-K through 12th grade possess a wide range of books that reflect those age ranges. Nonetheless, she noted that younger students are sometimes precluded from checking out certain books that are reserved for older students. 

The school system's policy for allowing certain books that contain “sex and profanity”  are “subjected to a stern test of literary merit … community standards, the laws and accepted public moral standards,” according to the school's policy guidelines for book selection.  

And while pornography, profanity and sexual incidents “shall not automatically disqualify a book,” the policy states that the decision to include a book in the library's collection “shall be made on the basis of whether the book presents life in its true proportions, whether circumstances are realistically dealt with, and whether the book is of literary value.”

Several parents opposed removing certain books from school libraries, including Center District resident Margreta Grady, who also spoke during the School Board meeting on Monday.  

Grady and others argued removing books that “highlight” the experiences of marginalized and underrepresented populations in society may also do harm to students who belong to those groups. 

“I think it's very important that we as a community trust our educators to do what's best for our children,” Grady said. “I understand the previous speakers’ concerns. But I think when there are disagreements in the community, we need to solve those in a neighborly way rather than a blanket ban.”

Marshall District resident Mary Brown Haak echoed Grady’s comments and said that the ability to read books from the perspective of a “Black, transgender, gay, disabled, undocumented, or poverty-stricken person” is “the best way to gain insight into the lives and challenges facing others …”

“I would maintain learning our full history and learning about the experiences of people outside of our own group brings us closer together,” she said. 

Here’s the full list of books that were being informally reviewed/considered for removal by parents:

  • "The Hazards of Love," by Stan Stanley
  • "Image and Identity: Becoming the Person You Are," by Kris Gowen
  • "The full spectrum: A new generation of writing about gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, questioning, and other identities," by David Leviathan and Billy Merrell
  • "Gender Identity: The ultimate teen guide," by Cynthia Winfield
  • "Rethinking Normal: A Memoir in transition," by Katie Rain Hill
  • "I am Jazz," by Jessica Herthel
  • "Alex as Well," by Alyssa Brugman
  • "Wildthorn," by Jane England
  • "Lobizona," by Romina Garber
  • "Girls Man Up," by M-E Girard
  • "The Goldsmith’s Daughter," by Tanya Landman
  • "Ruin of Stars," by Linsey Miller
  • "Ramona Blue," by Julie Murphy
  • "Fever Crumb," by Philip Reeve
  • "Scavenge the Stars," by Tara Slim
  • "Grasshopper Jungle," by Andrew Smith
  • "Dress Codes for Small Towns," by Courtney Stevens
  • "The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea," by Maggie Tokuda-Hall
  • "Ironhead, or, Once a Young Lady," by Jean-Claude van Rijckeghem
  • "Brown: The Last Discovery of America," by Richard Rodriguez
  • "Ana on the Edge," by A.J. Sass
  • "The Polar Bear Explorers’ Club," by Alex Bell
  • "A Song Only I Can Hear," by Barry Jonsberg
  • "The Deep & Dark Blue," by Niki Smith 
  • "One Half from the East," by Nadia Hashimi
  • "Crane," by Jeff Stone
  • "Rick," by Alex Gino
  • "Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic," by Alison Bechdel
  • "City of Thieves," by David Benioff
  • "Be Gay, Do Comics," by Matt Bors (Editor); et al
  • "A Quick and Easy Guide to Queer Identities," by Maddie Gulliani
  • "This One Summer," by Mariko Tamaki
  • "We Are the Ants," by David Hutchinson
  • "The Kite Runner," by Khaled Hosseini
  • "More Happy Than Not," by Adam Silvera
  • "What Girls Are Made of," by Elana Arnold
  • "So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed," by Jon Ronson
  • "Last Night at the Telegraph Club," by Malinda Lo
  • "Flamer," by Mike Curato
  • "Girls Like Us," by Gail Giles
  • "A Bike Like Sergios," by Maribeth Boelts
  • "A Boy Called Bat," Elana Arnold
  • "A Court of Thorns and Roses," Sarah Maas
  • "A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin," by Jennifer Bryant
  • "Ace of Spades," by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé
  • "An Ocean A Part, a World Away," by Lensey Namioka

(20) comments

Brad London

It's great to see concerned parents finally get involved to stop the liberal indoctrination of what they define to be a "new normal". That's actually one of the books. Stand up parents and put a stop to the woke madness!

John Dutko

It's a bad look when you have Conservatives whine about sex in literature, but then demand that a 10 year-old rape victim bring a baby to term.

But please, rail against mythical "wokeness".

Sacagawea Lax

@ John,

in response to your quote in the other thread:

@ John

"This isn't about the books. This is about suppressing a slice of our population and limiting their freedoms."

Or, it's simply about the new trend of inclusion, diversity, equity, and sexuality to prepubescent children. I think that's the cruz of the issue. The library is merely an access entry point to get the ball rollin' on content that normally wouldn't belong in a children's library. I'm not talking about High School. I'm talking about K-8.

Ron Hilton

Teaching kids to be sexual deviants is not a free speech issue. They are minors and sexually explicit literature, photos, videos, how-to books etc. have no place in school. This is self evident to 99% of the human population on the earth, and yet here we are being led around the nose by the 1%. And we wonder why our country is failing at every single thing. November can't come fast enough.

John Dutko

Yes! We need people to suppress their sexual urges and stay in the closet so none of us can feel uncomfortable! Let's keep making them less than a human being!

Turn it off (from the Book of Mormon)

https://youtu.be/5KSBEChzpMM

Larry Lyons

Realy and just exactly where do you get those numbers from? Out of the air or how about providing some actual citations. Or should we just simply dismiss it as your attempt to shore up a miserably weak case, with a lot of projection. After all research does show that homophobia for instance is the result of denied or suppressed same sex desire.

Tom Manson

Except that isn't what is happening here. At all.

Bonita Cubow

How sad that there are so very many small-minded, pig-headed people out there - & parents to boot!!! That's even more frightening. Knowledge is power. If you spend the same amount of time reading & intelligently discussing these books WITH your children as you spend ranting & raving in meetings about banning them, your children would be the ones to benefit.

Sacagawea Lax

"Pig headed"? "Knowledge is power?"

Non fiction usually provides the best knowledge.

[lol][lol][lol]

I will say, Tom probably made the most valid point on this one below. But even so, children shouldn't be subject to any sort of manipulation from any subject content, especially as prepubescents. That's an issue. The question is where and how the line should be drawn. Seems as of late that line keeps being pushed further and further away.

John Dutko

Moms for Liberty are about to have a guerilla war on their hands

Paul Benedict

So, a group of parents brings their opinions and recommendations through the system, as is their right, and your kind threaten them with guerilla warfare. Nice look Tom.

I am not a big fan of banning books I don't like, but in dealing with children of many faiths and cultures you do have to have some restraint. We should not be allowing books that groom children to accept sexual behavior that is illegal.

Most importantly, schools should concentrate on teaching children rather than indoctrinating them in leftist dogma.

And Mr. Jarvis, the less than subtle indignation in your first paragraph that parents would become involved in their children's education is telling.

John Dutko

Not a group of parents.

It is a non-Profit Corporation that seeks to dismiss the needs and wants of the LGBTQ community.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moms_for_Liberty

This is not a grassroots organization.

How bout this: We should not allow young impressionable minds be exposed to books about violence as that can groom them to be killers.

If reading a particular topic can "groom"/change you, then why haven't all those gay people been changed from years of straight media?

And expound on the indoctrination part. I would love to hear what you have to say.

Paul Benedict

Even James Jarvis calls them parents. They may belong to or be influenced to an organization, but so are teachers. What does that have to do with anything?

Most schools didn't used to get involved in teaching kids to be straight. They left issues like that up to parents. The vile left hates the idea of parents having a say in their kid's education and moral development because it's not what they like. They are not your kids. This is a huge reason why the Democrats are loosing support from many Black and Hispanic voters because they have moral values and most white liberals do not, or maybe it is better to say that most white liberals values are diametrically opposed to the values of normal people.

Obviously you leftists believe that words can cause damage because you guys want to ban everything you disagree with. So you are a hypocrite for suggesting that books don't influence people.

I personally don't know what is in the books on the list with this article, and I probably wouldn't agree with banning many of them. But, I do not think books that contain pedophilia pictures and illustrations should not be in public schools, nor should books that normalize illegal sex acts between children and adults. And many schools in this area have books like these.

John Dutko

@Paul

" But, I do not think books that contain pedophilia pictures and illustrations should not be in public schools, nor should books that normalize illegal sex acts between children and adults. And many schools in this area have books like these."

And which books are these? I mean, since you know so much about this subject and are TOTALLY not parroting information fed by organizations such as Moms for Liberty.

Tom Manson

John made the reference not Tom, but it is obvious reading isn't your strong suit.

Tom Manson

The absolute irony of a group calling themselves 'Moms for Liberty' pushing to ban books. If you can't parent and stop your kids from reading what you find offensive, please don't prevent the rest of us from letting our kids read what we think is acceptable.

Duke Nukem

I don't really have any skin in the game, but can't you read these books to your kids at night on your own, maybe get some tracing paper out for the well drawn ones, or are these books only available in school libraries for teachers to push on kids? Is Mein Kampf available in the library? You could learn a thing or two like how Hitler was a socialist by reading it. Maybe it should be required reading for students, or would you want to ban that?

John Dutko

Provide the quote that links Hitler to Socialism/Marxism.

Here is an excerpt where he links Marxism to Jews:

"...The Jewish doctrine of Marxism rejects the aristocratic principle of Nature and

replaces the eternal privilege of power and strength by the mass of numbers and their

dead weight. Thus it denies the value of personality in man, contests the significance of

nationality and race, and thereby withdraws from humanity the premise of its existence

and its culture. As a foundation of the universe, this doctrine would bring about the end

of any order intellectually conceivable to man. And as, in this greatest of all recognizable

organisms, the result of an application of such a law could only be chaos, on earth it

could only be destruction for the inhabitants of this planet.

If, with the help of his Marxist creed, the Jew is victorious over the other peoples of the

world, his crown will be the funeral wreath of humanity and this planet will, as it did

thousands of years ago, move through the ether devoid of men."

Can you provide some evidence or are you just making crap up?

Paul Benedict

I won't stop you from reading these books to your kids, Thomasenia.

Tom Manson

Paul is like a little kid. I can imagine him rubbing his hands together "oh I will use a girl's name instead, that will really rile him up!". These message boards are sad really.

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