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Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) will remove the controversial book “Gender Queer: A Memoir,” written by Maia Kobabe, from school library shelves, a spokesperson announced Friday. The neighboring Fairfax County School District backed the book, saying it was not obscene and did not contain child abuse, but Loudoun Superintendent Scott Zielger – who came under pressure from parents and the new governor of Virginia Glenn Youngkin on other issues – decided to withdraw the book, calling it unsuitable for school.
“The pictorial depictions in this book ran counter to what is appropriate for school,” Ziegler wrote in a statement to The Washington Post. “I have read all of the books submitted for my review in their entirety. I am generally not in favor of removing books from the library.”
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Ziegler requested a review of the book due to questions about its content, spokesperson Wayde Byard told the Post. A “committee recommended (on a split vote) to keep the book in the collection of the high school library [but] the superintendent decided to withdraw the book from circulation. The decision was appealed and the school board’s appeal committee met Thursday night, voting 3-0 to uphold the withdrawal.
The move comes about two months after Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) announcement that he restored “Gender Queer”, as well as Jonathan Evison’s “Lawn Boy”, to libraries after two committees reviewed them and concluded that the books did not include pedophilia or obscene content.
The committee ruled that “Gender Queer” – which includes photos of sex acts between a boy and a man – depicts “the difficulties that non-binary and asexual individuals may experience”. The committee concluded that “the book does not describe or depict pedophilia”. The committee also asserted that the book did not violate “regulations by being obscene or harmful to minors as defined by the Code of Virginia.”
Stacy Langton, the Fairfax County mother who in front of the school board with images of the books in September appealed the decision and on January 11 Superintendent Scott Braband sent a letter denying his appeal. He said “there were no letters in the review process” and that he agreed with the committee’s report.
“I find it very dishonest of Brabrand to state that there is ‘no pedophilia’ and that the pictures are ‘not obscene’ when the pictures objectively are, in all respects, and that his neighboring county counterpart agrees they are ‘inappropriate,’” Langton told Fox News.
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Ian Serotkin, vice chairman of the Loudoun County School Board and member of the committee that upheld the removal of “Gender Queer,” told Fox News he voted to keep “Lawn Boy” in Loudoun’s libraries.
In a statement on his “Gender Queer” vote, Serotkin noted that he had never before voted to remove a book from the LCPS. He defended some of the books that were challenged “because they contained gay characters or LGBTQ themes”. Still, he claimed that “sexual content is a big part” of “Gender Queer”.
“It is neither fleeting nor brief,” he added. “Sexually explicit illustrations that have captured media and public attention may only appear on a handful of pages, but sexual themes are pervasive throughout the book. And the sexually explicit illustrations themselves cannot be ignored. . I think I can draw a line between something that’s described in writing and that’s depicted in vivid color.”
When Fox News contacted FCPS for comment, the school district referred Fox News to its committee’s reports, rather than responding to LCPS’ claims.
“Loudoun County Public Schools has finally made a wise decision by listening to parents about the dangerous phenomenon of woke porn that lands in the hands of children,” said Asra Nomani, a Fairfax County mother and vice president. from Parents Defending Education, to Fox News. “Other school systems, including Fairfax County, Va., should pay attention, not emphasize virtue signage.”
“Just as we don’t allow Playboy or Penthouse in school libraries, we have to make adult decisions about getting age-appropriate content into the hands of American kids,” Nomani added. “With its graphic image of a man sexually caressing a prepubescent boy, Gender Queer not suitable for children.”
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Nomani noted that Glenn Youngkin won the 2021 gubernatorial election in part by raising “the issue of parental input into what is taught in schools, days after the Fairfax County School Board closed a mother who pleaded for Gender Queer. In a swipe at his campaign, Terry McAuliffe insisted that parents should not have a say in what is taught in schools. It is interesting that Loudoun County leaders turned the tide as Governor Youngkin took office.”
“Superintendent Ziegler finally made a good decision, as did the board members who confirmed it,” Ian Prior, a Loudoun County father and executive director of Fight for Schools, told Fox News. “These books may be suitable for Barnes and Noble, Amazon and even a public library. But once they are in libraries and school classrooms, they effectively accept government sponsorship of ideologies that should not be imposed on children over the reasonable objections of their parents.”
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