Loudoun County Public Schools Remove Sexually Explicit Book from Library

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Posted: Jan 17, 2022 9:45 PM
Loudoun County Public Schools Remove Sexually Explicit Book from Library

Source: AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

The Loudoun County Public Schools will remove a sexually explicit book from the shelves of its high school library after the district's superintendent and a school board committee voted last week to take it down.

"Gender Queer: A Memoir" by Maia Kobabe will be removed after an LCPS school board committee voted on Jan. 13 in a 3-0 decision to uphold Superintendent Scott Ziegler's directive to remove the book.

A committee initially recommended "on a split vote" that the book remain in the high school library after Ziegler requested a review of the book due to parental concerns, LCPS spokesman Wayde Byard told The Washington Post. However, Ziegler went ahead and had the book removed anyway. The superintendent's decision was then appealed but the school board appeal committee decided to uphold the removal.

"The pictorial depictions in this book ran counter to what is appropriate in school," Ziegler said in a statement to The Post. "I read every book that is submitted for my review in its entirety. I am not generally in favor of removing books from the library."

"Gender Queer" contains explicit illustrations of oral sex, masturbation and sexual activity between a boy and a man.

Ian Serotkin, one of the school board members who voted to remove the book, explained his decision in a Facebook post. He noted that he had never voted in favor of removing a book before.

"Sexual content is a large part of this book. It is not fleeting or brief," Serotkin said. "The sexually explicit illustrations which have gotten significant 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 being described in writing and it being depicted in living color."

Serotkin told Fox News that he voted against removing another controversial book, "Lawn Boy" by Jonathan Evison, which contains graphic descriptions of sex between men and children.

The move by LCPS comes after nearby Fairfax County announced in November that it had reinstated "Gender Queer" and "Lawn Boy" after a two-month review process determined that the books were "deemed appropriate for high school readers." The two books had previously been removed after a parent raised concerns at an FCPS school board meeting, confronting the board with images from the books.

"I am satisfied that the books were selected according to FCPS regulations and are appropriate to include in libraries that serve high school students," FCPS Assistant Superintendent for Instructional Services Noel Klimenko said of the books being reinstated. "Both books have value beyond their pages for students who may struggle to find relatable stories."

The Fairfax County parent later appealed the district's decision, but, on Jan. 11, Superintendent Scott Braband rejected her appeal, saying in a letter that "there were no errors in the review process" and that he agreed with the decision to reinstate the books.

Asra Nomani, a Fairfax County mother and vice president of nonprofit group Parents Defending Education, lauded LCPS' decision to remove "Gender Queer" from its bookshelves.

"Loudoun County Public Schools has finally made a wise decision, listening to parents about the dangerous phenomenon of woke porn landing in the hands of children," Nomani told Fox News. "Other school systems, including Fairfax County, Virginia, should pay heed, instead of insisting on virtue signaling."