6th Grader Reads from Lurid Library Book at School Board Meeting
(Windham Maine) Parents in Windham are battling with left-wing activists and members of the school board over books in the school library that feature cartoon images of children having sex and lurid passages about sexual encounters between minors. At immediate issue are two books – one in the middle school and one at the high school library – that depict graphic sexual activities.
More broadly, in objecting to these materials, parents feel the school, and its governing board, are trying to shut them out.
Knox Zajac, an 11–year-old sixth grader, spoke up at a school board meeting last week to read aloud from the illustrated romance for teenagers, “Nick and Charlie,” that he had checked out of his school’s library. The story begins with two early teen boys stealing wine from their parents and proceeding to experiment sexually with one another.
“A lot of parents just don’t know what’s going on in the school,” Knox’s father, Adam Zajac, told The Maine Wire. “What I don’t understand is how we have books in the middle school library that adults would be fired for having at work, or potentially prosecuted for sharing with children given their pornographic content. It’s smut, really.”
State and Federal law prohibit the possession or distribution of pornographic material involving children, though cartoon images are a gray area. Maine law prohibits the distribution of obscene material to minors; however, the law includes an exception if the obscene material is provided to children at school.
When Knox checked out “Nick and Charlie,” the librarian told him that if he liked it, she had similar ones she could lend him, he told the school board. The age advisory on this book is 14-years of age and older.
Another book in the high school library, “Gender Queer,” includes graphic depictions of minors engaging in sexual intercourse that could be mistaken for a how-to manual. The age advisory on this book is for readers of 18 years of age and older.
Parents want age-appropriate limitations on access to these books — if they’re to be in the library at all. But most members of the school board disagree, and some community members think the board is taking steps to limit the involvement of parents in public meetings.
Ken Clark has children in both the middle and high schools within the RSU-14 system and has “had (his) antennae up for several years now,” he told The Maine Wire, because the schools are inviting students to officially change their gender in the school records “100% behind the parents’ backs,” he said. What activated him was one of his daughters photographing a poster in school inviting students to talk with school officials about gender fluidity.
Clark said he is part of a group of parents who share his concerns, and that the number of parents participating in their regular discussions is growing.
“It’s becoming trendy to be a trans kid,” Maria Clark, a grandmother of nine students in the RSU-14 system told The Maine Wire.
Whether social contagion is contributing to the documented rise in non-heterosexual, non-cisgender identifications in Maine high schools is an open question — one school officials have refrained from studying despite the significant trends in the Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey data.
“We’re not looking to ban books, we’re just trying to make sure they aren’t all out front and center in the libraries like they are now,” said Clark.
Clark said parents have begun the process of requesting these books be put in a reserve section to be available on request, but notes it is a time-intensive one.
“We’re not trying to ban books, we’re just concerned that they are being used not as reference but rather advocacy materials,” she said.
Robin Frost, a local surgeon, recently pulled her youngest daughter out of the RSU-14 system and enrolled her in a private school because of repeated issues with the district that began during the period of mandatory masking. The school would not allow Frost’s daughter a medical exception to the requirement. As a result, Frost said, she had to provide oxygen to her daughter when she returned from school to make up for the health damage she suffered during the school day.
“I used to smile when I dropped my kids off at school, but it got the point where I no longer did and was cringing instead,” she explained. After the dispute over masking, Frost began to notice a shift in school priorities away from academics and towards more Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion programs, and especially sexual diversity programming.
“If you ask a question, they make you feel like a bigot,” Frost said.
The openness of school board debates has taken a sharp turn away from parental involvement and interaction, Windham’s state representative told The Maine Wire in a recent interview.
“It seems like the debate at the school board is stacked against parents,” Rep. Barbara Bagshaw (R-Windham) said, adding: “They pretty much want to shut down communication from parents.”
Header featured image (edited) credit: Child holding sign/readingeggs.com/ articles/signs-child
Emphasis added by (TLB) editors
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