School system pulls 2 books with graphic sex from libraries

Sep 24, 2021, 2:10 AM | Updated: 2:51 pm

FALLS CHURCH. Va. (AP) — A northern Virginia school system said it is removing two books from school libraries, including an illustrated memoir that contains explicit illustrations of sexual encounters involving children, after a parent expressed concern about them at a school board meeting.

Stacy Langton, a parent in the Fairfax County school system, questioned the school board at a public meeting Thursday about the books’ availability in high school libraries. As she quoted from explicit passages in the book, a school board member interrupted her and chastised her for using explicit language.

Another school board member defended the books by saying they are available only in high school libraries, not in grade schools.

On Friday, the school system initially said it was conducting a review. Later in the day, it said it was pulling “Gender Queer” by Maia Kobabe and “Lawn Boy” by Jonathan Evison from circulation pending a more detailed review. Two committees made up of staff, students and parents will assess both books and make recommendations 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 school system said.

“Gender Queer” publisher Oni Press issued a statement Friday saying that limiting the book’s availability is “short-sighted and reactionary.”

“Oni Press supports Maia Kobabe for the truth and strength in sharing eir story, and hope to be a home for others who want to share their own stories with the world. The fact is, GENDER QUEER is an important, timely piece of work that serves as an invaluable resource for not only those that identity as nonbinary or genderqueer, but for people looking to understand what that means.”

Online inventory systems showed both books were widely available throughout high school libraries in the Fairfax County system. One school, Robinson Secondary, serves grades 7-12.

Indeed, one or both books are available in school systems throughout the region, including Loudoun County, Arlington County, Alexandria and Montgomery County, Maryland, schools, according to online catalogs.

Langton, in an interview Friday, said she had never spoken up at a school board meeting before, but the books were so obscene that she had to speak up.

She said she heard about the books earlier this month at a school board meeting in Texas, and became curious whether they were available. Sure enough, the books her in her son’s school library.

The books “are actually so much worse than I ever would have imagined. So much worse,” she said.

“Gender Queer,” an illustrated memoir, contains explicit illustrations of oral sex and masturbation. The novel “Lawn Boy” contains graphic descriptions of sex between men and children. Both books were previous winners of the American Library Association’s Alex Awards, which each year recognize “ten books written for adults that have special appeal to young adults ages 12 through 18.”

Langton said the fact that school board members felt compelled to interrupt her when she read graphic passages aloud illustrates her point about the books’ inappropriate nature.

“I was very angry that they cut me off,” she said.

The controversy is the latest to befuddle Fairfax County’s school board, and other across Virginia and the country as conservative parents object to masks in schools, anti-racism curriculum, and policy changes requiring transgender students be referred to by their preferred pronouns.

Asra Nomani, who attended Thursday’s meeting and serves as vice president of strategy and investigations at Parents Defending Education, a recently formed advocacy group, said the high-handed response from the school board to Langton’s concerns reflects the divide between activist school board members and parents.

“It’s very unfair to demonize and marginalize parents, because they have serious concerns,” Nomani said.

One school board member, Karl Frisch, offered a defense of sorts on Twitter, saying Thursday night that “nothing will disrupt our Board’s commitment to LGBTQIA+ students, families and staff. Nothing.” But he was not explicit about whether his tweet was in response to Langton’s comments. He declined comment Friday.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


FILE - This Wednesday, March 31, 2021 file photo shows empty vials of Johnson & Johnson's one-dose ...
Associated Press

COVID vaccine: CDC expands booster rollout, OKs mixing shots

WASHINGTON (AP) — Millions more Americans can get a COVID-19 booster and choose a different company’s vaccine for that next shot, federal health officials said Thursday. Certain people who received Pfizer vaccinations months ago already are eligible for a booster and now the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says specific Moderna and Johnson & […]
20 hours ago
A man lies still as devotees light oil lamps over his body as part of rituals to celebrate the tent...
Associated Press

AP Week in Pictures: Asia

Oct. 8-14, 2021 This photo gallery highlights some of the most compelling images made or published by Associated Press photographers in Asia and Pacific. The gallery was curated by AP photo editor Masayo Yoshida in Tokyo. Follow AP visual journalism: Instagram: AP Images on Twitter: AP Images blog: Copyright © The Associated […]
20 hours ago
The Statement of Facts to support the complaint and arrest warrant for Christian Manley is photogra...
Associated Press

Alabama native charged in Jan. 6 insurrection denied release

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — An Alabama native whom a judge alleged was “leading the charge” during the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol was denied release Thursday in an Alaska courtroom while his case proceeds. Christian Matthew Manley then waived his right to preliminary hearing and asked that he be immediately transferred to the […]
20 hours ago
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announces in Wellington, Friday, Oct. 22, 2021, an ambiti...
Associated Press

New Zealand sets 90% vaccination target to end lockdowns

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand’s government on Friday set an ambitious target of fully vaccinating 90% of all eligible people to end coronavirus lockdowns. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern had been under pressure to provide a pathway to freedom for people living in Auckland, who have been in lockdown for more than two months. […]
20 hours ago
Associated Press

California proposes buffer between oil drilling, homes

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration on Thursday announced a proposal to ban new oil and gas wells within 3,200 feet (975 meters) of sites such as schools and homes. Here’s a look at the details: THE BUFFER The 3,200-foot zone between new drilling and community sites would be the largest in […]
20 hours ago
Associated Press

Police: 4 killed in Washington state shooting

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — Four people were killed in a shooting in Tacoma on Thursday afternoon, police said. The Tacoma Police Department said on Twitter at about 5:30 p.m. that two females and one male had died at the scene and that a male was taken to a hospital with life-threatening injuries. At about 6:30 […]
20 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Medicare open enrollment for 2022 starts Oct. 15 and SHIBA can help!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]

How to Have a Stress-Free Real Estate Experience

The real estate industry has adapted and sellers are taking full advantage of new real estate models. One of which is Every Door Real Estate.
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
Marysville Police Department

Police Opportunities in a Growing, Supportive Washington Community

Marysville PD is looking for both lateral and entry level officers. Begin or continue your career in law enforcement for a growing, supportive community.

Small, Minority-Owned Businesses in King County and Pierce County Can Now Apply For $10,000 Relief Grants Through Comcast RISE

Businesses in King County and Pierce County can apply beginning on October 1, 2021, at for a chance to receive a $10,000 relief grant.
School system pulls 2 books with graphic sex from libraries