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Tipsheet

Parents File Police Report After Teacher Offered LGBTQ+ Book to Middle School Students

AP Photo/Marta Lavandier, File

Parents of middle school students filed a police report against a teacher who provided students with a book teaching them about sexual orientation and gender identity. The teacher resigned shortly after.

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The teacher, Sarah Bonner, 42, has been a middle school teacher in Illinois for 20 years, according to NBC News. In March, Bonner held a “book tasting” event for her students to “read and celebrate books.” 

“I wanted to give them a smattering of fiction and nonfiction to choose from on a day that we call ‘Reading Monday,’” the teacher said.

One of the books offered to students was one called “This Book is Gay” by Juno Dawson, a bestselling young adult non-fiction book that serves as an “instruction manual” for people coming out as LGBTQ+. 

“By Wednesday, I received notice that parents had gotten a hold of pictures from that book that their child had taken in class,” the teacher said. “By Friday, I was told that parents had filed a police report against me for child endangerment.”

TODAY.com reached out to the police department. The local chief of police confirmed that the report was made. 

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“The notion that I was putting children in danger because of books – I didn’t feel safe,” Bonner said. “I knew I couldn’t go back.”

Reportedly, Bonner said that her students often “had a tough time acclimating to bigger, more diverse spaces” and she “wanted to do something to support them.”

As a result, she created a “diverse library of texts” at school, including books centering around black, Indigenous, and LGBTQ+ characters. 

“I’ve been fortunate up until now to be supported by the communities that I’ve taught with,” she said. “The signs (of a potential issue) started at the beginning of this school year.” She added that it is part of “this heightened culture war that’s continuing to build nationwide.”

In recent years, thousands of books have been banned from schools. Many have had explicit LGBTQ+ themes. According to PEN America, over 1,600 were banned during the 2021-2022 school year.

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