St. PETERSBURG – The Pinellas County School District has instructed two high schools to take an LGBTQ graphic novel about coming of age Gender: Memoirs from their library shelves.
The county has not received any official complaints about the book, nor has it followed up Procedure When challenged remove a book.
However, the district said in a statement that it had learned that a parent at Lakewood High School had raised concerns about the address, prompting a district-wide review by the Department of Teaching and Learning Services, which is led by Associate Superintendent Kevin Hendrick.
“Due to the sexual nature depicted in the infographics of some of the content, the book has been deemed to be unsuitable for the age of all high school students,” the district said in a statement. She regularly conducts management reviews of school materials.
said the neighborhood gay sex It remains available to teachers and other school staff.
Other school systems across the state and nation have it, too Remove the book from circulation Amid calls from conservative leaders and some parents about what they say are inappropriate illustrations and sexual content.
Lakewood High School student newspaper The news was published for the first time About removing the book from that school’s library. The book was also in the Dunedin High Library.
Heather Robinson, a senior media specialist in Lakewood, said Friday that her supervisor called her late last week He said district leadership had decided that schools needed to “remove” writers from collections. Robinson said she heard from a student about the parents’ concerns, but the family did not follow up on the case.
Robinson said that “weeding” books usually mean cutting out material that is outdated, irrelevant, and unused. But she said she bought the book last year.
The graphic novel is about writer Maya Cobabe’s ability to deal with sexuality as a young woman. In one key passage, Kobabe—who uses the pronouns e/em/eir—writes about trying to figure out: Am I a gay boy trapped in a girl’s body, or is there a third, non-binary option?
“It’s definitely a very apt book for our students,” said Robinson, who also serves as a sponsor for the school’s Gay-Straight Alliance.
It, too, has become a “political football” in recent months, said Nora Bellisari, a spokeswoman for the National Coalition Against Censorship, a New York-based organization that intervenes on behalf of people and groups facing censorship in their communities.
Bellisari said about gay sexNoting that the book Contains some explicit sexual references and pictures in it – Including an illustration of two boys kissing while apparently naked.
Bellisari saw the mounting controversy over this and other titles as a backlash to school districts’ efforts to expand the diversity of their book collections to represent more groups and viewpoints. Pinellas County has promoted its initiative to be more inclusive in its choices, although officials have noted some backsliding from the community.
Follow what’s happening at Tampa Bay schools
Subscribe to our free newsletter
We’ll break down the state and local educational developments you need to know each Thursday.
You are all registered!
Want more of our free weekly newsletter in your inbox? Let’s get started.
Hillsborough County School District has gay sex Speaking at “a handful” of high schools, spokeswoman Tania Arja said. Pasco County spokesperson Steve Hegarty said the Pasco County School District does not have the title in its collection.
Pinellas School Board member Nicole Carr, a former high school principal, said it’s critical that the district follow its defined process any time a book is proposed to be deleted.
Just this week, the district trained media professionals in the process.
“We don’t want to get used to blocking books,” said Carr, who was unaware of the reasons for the administrative action. “We want to make sure our process is well-defined, standardized and consistent.”
This did not happen in this case, Robinson said.
This alarmed fellow media specialist Ginger Pringle at Pinellas Park High, who did not have a gay sex on its shelves.
“I am very disappointed in our region for not following the policy you asked us to follow,” Pringle said.
US Supreme Court 1982 Rule That school libraries, unlike school curricula, are places of voluntary inquiry, which means that the district’s appreciation of what is taught in the classroom does not extend to the library.
The court found that reading is an implied right of the First Amendment, so the organization of the material cannot be based on personal views.
That’s why schools have audits, Bellisari said.
“When you pull a book off the library shelf, you dictate what other people’s children are allowed to read,” she said. “This cannot be allowed to happen.”
Robinson said parents can choose to block a book only for their children — something the school can do with a note in a computer file.
Angela Dubach, president of Moms for Liberty Pinellas, has questioned the availability of other books, including Not all boys are blue, essay series by George M. Johnson, author of Eccentrics.
“Parents don’t want books banned. They just want age limits on what is available to whom,” Dubach said, adding that whether children read books about sex should be up to their parents, not schools.
Maya Risch, editor in chief of student newspaper Lakewood High School, said the students were “really shocked” when they learned gay sex withdrawn from circulation.
She said many of the books aimed at teens discuss sexuality and gender identity. I speculated that gay sex – A book that friends who have read told her to be “a really cool diary” – got extra attention because it has graphics.
“I have people, my friends, people who have read the post, saying, ‘Okay, I’m buying this book now,’” Rich said. “When something is removed from circulation, it makes people want to check it out more.”
gay sex Author Cobabe recently lamented efforts across the country to censor the book, which Cobabe wrote is aimed at an audience of high school or older.
“Removing or restricting gay books in libraries and schools is like cutting a lifeline for gay youth, who may not yet know the terms asking Google to learn more about their identities, their bodies, and their health,” Kobabe wrote in The Washington Post.
• • •
Subscribe to the Gradebook newsletter!
Every Thursday, get the latest updates on what’s happening at Tampa Bay Area schools from times Education reporter Jeffrey S. Soloshik. click here to sign up.