Parents in Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) in Virginia, USA, had succeeded in having books they labeled as pornographic and pedophilic removed from the high school libraries on Sept. 26 2021.
However, FCPS officials decided this week to reinstate two of the controversial books to be used as reading material for high school students.
FCPS officials announced in a press release Tuesday, Nov. 23, that they will return two books, Genderqueer by Maia Kobabe and Lawnboy by Jonathan Evison, that had been withdrawn from circulation for a review, according to the Washington Examiner.
“The decision reaffirms FCPS’ ongoing commitment to provide diverse reading materials that reflect our student population, allowing every child an opportunity to see themselves reflected in literary characters,” the release alleges, adding that “Both reviews concluded that the books were valuable in their potential to reach marginalized youth who may struggle to find relatable literary characters that reflect their personal journeys.”
The books had been recalled in September after Stacy Langton, an FCPS parent, complained during a Sept. 23 school board meeting about the disturbing language and images in the books.
The mother explained that parents from Texas schools alerted her that they might be using these books at Fairfax High School, her son’s school. To her surprise she found the books there as well, and at other schools in the county, where students as young as 12 could access them, the Daily Caller reported Sept. 24.
Langton discovered to her horror that the books showed images of acts of pedophilia, including homosexual intercourse by men with boys, such as one showing a fourth-grader performing oral sex on an adult.
“The illustrations include fellatio, sex toys, masturbation and violent nudity,” the mother indignantly told the school board when she reported her finding, but was cut off before her allotted time to speak expired because, school officials alleged, the woman was making comments in a very explicit manner about the content of the books and there were minors in the room.
“I’m angry. I’m shocked, but I probably shouldn’t be,” Langton told the Washington Examiner. “The committee finding that the materials are not obscene is patently absurd.”
“It’s insulting,” she added. “Essentially, FCPS comes out in favor of pornography in schools.”
Langton expressed that she somehow hoped the district “might do the right thing,” however it is now clear to her that it will not. “This is about an agenda they’re pushing and they’re not interested in protecting kids,” she said.
Meanwhile, Nicole Neily, president and founder of Parents Defending Education, a national organization that advocates for non-indoctrination education for America’s children, called the board’s review “insulting and downright cowardly.”
“Schools are no place for hardcore pornography, yet Fairfax County Public Schools insists on pushing this graphic material upon our children,” Neily stated.
This is not the first time a book by Kobabe and other books with obscene and disturbing content have been removed from schools.
The district in Keller, a city in the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area, removed Kobabe’s book after receiving complaints of inappropriate content.
“llustrations of this sort should never be available in the school environment. Ensuring our curricular materials are appropriate for students is a priority for Keller ISD. We are changing the process we use to review and approve books and related materials to prevent future incidents,” the district said in a statement, according to CNN.