Virginia School Board Pulls Questionable Books After Parents’ Complaints About Graphic Sexual Content, Orders Inquiry As To Whether They Can Stay

Just days after being berated by parents for allowing students as young as 12 access to books they considered pornographic, the school board in very blue Fairfax County, Virginia, temporarily pulled the books from schools.

As The Free Press noted last week, critics of the books, led by Stacy Langton, a parent, denounced the school district for offering “Lawn Boy” by Jonathan Evison and “Gender Queer” by Maia Kobabe. Langton complained to board members that the books depicted, sometimes with graphic images, “fellatio, sex toys, masturbation and violent nudity.”

On Wednesday, Patch.com reported that the school district had “suspended” circulation of the books while forming a pair of committees to review the content of each. The panels will be comprised of staff, students, and parents under the guidance of the school district’s library services coordinator.

The committees’ recommendations will be sent to the school system’s assistant superintendent of instructional services, who will render final judgment on whether the books will remain on library shelves, according to Patch.com.

As The Free Press posted, Langton told the board she found the books at Fairfax High School, which her child attends, in addition to other locations, such as Robinson Secondary School, where they could be found by students as young as 12.

Patch.com reported that one of its editors read both books, and disputed some of the claims made by Langton and other opponents of the books.

Specifically, the parents were wrong with allegations that pedophilia, including sex between a man and a boy, was featured in the texts.

Still, the website reported, “Gender Queer,” which is a memoir of Kobabe’s own “dislike for the female body” utilizes both text and illustrations encompassing “oral sex and masturbation” to tell the story of Kobabe’s journey from a “confused girl to a nonbinary and asexual teenager who today does not identify as a man or a woman.”

Kobabe’s work, Patch.com reported, includes “an illustration of a man and what appears to be a teenage male from Ancient Greece” that the author used in an attempt at “self-arousal.”

The image feeds into an “elaborate fantasy based on Plato’s ‘Symposium,’” Patch.com notes. Plato’s book relates an account in which a Greek politician seeks to seduce Socrates.

“Gender Queer” also discusses Kobabe’s adoption of gender-neutral pronouns – “e” for he/she, “em” for him/her, and “eir” for his/her – and her “frustration when people do not use the chosen pronouns.”

As for “Lawn Boy,” Patch.com noted it does include “passages where the protagonist of the novel recalls engaging in oral sex with a fellow 10-year-old when they were in fourth grade.” The account is part of the protagonist’s process of “self-actualization.”

The author told Patch.com that his book’s episode of “sexual experimentation” really “bothers these folks [because] it happens to be two boys, and it occurs at a church youth group meeting.”

It’s unclear how long the committees will take to review the books.

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