Fairfax County Public Schools has pulled two books from its shelves after a local mom complained to the school board that the titles contain graphic sexual content and pedophelia.
A spokesperson for FCPS confirmed to FFXnow that “Lawn Boy” by Jonathan Evison and “Gender Queer” by Maia Kobabe have been temporarily pulled from shelves.
Two committees under the supervision of the school system’s library service coordinator will assess the suitability of both texts for high school libraries. The committee will include representation from staff, students, and parents, according to the spokesperson.
“The recommendation of the committees will be put forward to the Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Services who will make a final decision as to whether FCPS continues to provide access to these books in our high school libraries,” the spokesperson said.
Stacy Langton, a Fairfax County mother, held up content from the books at a heated Sept. 23 school board meeting. The material — which was blurred in a recording of the meeting — included details of a man having sex with a boy, oral sex, masturbation, and nudity.
“Pornography is offensive to all people,” Langston said. The recording also muted Langton’s descriptions of the books’ content, which she said includes a scene in which a 10-year-old boy recounts sucking an adult man’s penis.
A Patch review of the two books disputed that characterization, reporting that “Lawn Boy” — a coming-of-age novel about a Mexican landscaper — contains no scenes of adults having sex with minors and that the illustration that drew objections in “Gender Queer,” an autobiography, appears in the context of the author’s teenage fantasy.
Another county resident and former FCPS teacher — Adrienne Henzel — said she was appalled by what she described as “homo-erotic material” supported by county taxpayer dollars.
FCPS Pride, an employees’ group that represents the LGBTQIA+ community and formed in 2015, said the inclusion of books that represent “oft-excluded communities such as LGBTQIA+ and other marginalized groups” help feel students more welcome and safer. LGBTQIA+ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer and questioning, and asexual.
“These books are ‘mirrors and windows’ as they ‘tell a story’ to give a window on a community that a reader may not belong to, and they share a narrative with which a given student may identify,” said Robert Rigby, co-president of FCPS Pride and an FCPS high school teacher.
Rigby told FFXnow that FCPS Pride is thankful for librarians who have established catalogs and collections that include all communities — especially marginalized ones.
Langton’s comments drew several objections from Springfield District board member Laura Jane Cohen, who noted that there were children in the room and that the books are available only in high schools.
She was cut off when she went over the three-minute time limit for public comments and refused to leave the podium for the next speaker, prompting the school board to take a five-minute recess “to clear the room.”
The incident was picked up by several conservative-leaning national news outlets and flagged by Asra Nomani, vice president of strategy and investigations for Parents Defending Education, a recently formed nonprofit organization that fights what it calls “indoctrination” in education. Read More