Wednesday’s board meeting was called “raucous” by some in the media, but I’d say the parents involved were restrained for the seriousness of what is at stake: the innocence of children.
Parents went to the public meeting to demand answers about the pornographic books that have been found in their school libraries. One of the books graphically describes a child being viciously raped by her father while her twin watches.
I warn you that this is hard to listen to, but listen to it you must because otherwise, you will not believe that educators are shoving this disgusting material down your kids’ throats. You must hear it to understand what we are up against, and it’s scary and evil. A father’s anguish after reading a graphic description of child rape is all of us. “That was the sister watching her little sister get raped by her father. This is the sh*t we have going into our libraries, and you’re complaining about ‘anti-LGBTQ’?” he choked out through rage. “I’ve been attacked all week on the community board because I’m sticking up for my children,” continued. Watch it below but be warned, it is extremely graphic and not safe for work or children. Please take steps not to traumatize a child with this. (How absurd is it that I have to say that about a book that is in a library for minors?)
The book, Identical, has reportedly been removed surreptitiously from the high school library without a paper trail. PJ Media could not confirm this as the school was closed at the time of the investigation, but the book is marked “out” on the public database as if someone did check it out. Identical is only one of the books found to contain pornographic material. According to one mom, there are 65 books like this in the system, the majority of them in the middle school library.
“While reviewing the database I found 68 books that contain explicit sexual content including child rape, abuse, and prostitution,” said one mom. “Of those, 25 are in the middle school and 6 are at Jordan-Small.”
PJ Media searched the online database that is publicly available for the Windham school district and found a lot more than 68 books that have queer or gay themes. Out of those, you can bet that most of them have explicit sexual content. Of the books without gay themes, it’s hard to tell, but based on my research into young adult literature that I’ve done over several years, it’s a fair bet that the majority of the non-gay-themed books are also sexually explicit. Young adult literature is rife with themes of sex, violence, rape, alcohol abuse, obscenities, child abuse and neglect, broken families, and a mountain of other horrors. Why is that? Perhaps a less obvious explanation is the answer from Publisher’s Weekly: adult readers are refusing to grow up and taking over the YA category.
Levin at S&S says that the spike in popularity of YA fiction among adults has changed the market landscape and “allowed teen fiction to stretch in so many wonderful ways—in sophistication, in subject matter.” But, she adds, “an unfortunate side effect has been that, as so much YA fiction has scooched up toward that adult audience, much of it is no longer meeting the needs of younger teens who may not be ready or interested in reading about older teen characters who act more like 20-somethings.” Anecdotally, she has heard from many parents of young teens that their kids “already feel so much pressure from the world around them—from current events, social media, the school environment—that they look to fiction as a real escape, a place where the stakes can be low and the consequences can be gentle. I think there are many teen readers out there looking for the experience that clean teen can offer.”
It doesn’t help that when parents ask the American Library Association to create a ratings system or some way to know what content is in the books (like a movie rating system), they refuse and call it a type of censorship. They don’t even want publishers labeling “clean teen” books with the word “clean.”
Scales, for one, doesn’t buy the language that some gatekeepers use to talk about young readers’ needs. “I’m concerned about the loose use of ‘reading level,’ ” she says. “Reading level refers to a person’s ability to read. Most middle school students can read what any teen or adult can read. They don’t flock to YA books because of their ability to read them; they read them because the books interest them.” She echoes the ALA’s Library Bill of Rights when she adds, “Prejudicial labels such as ‘clean teen’ are used as warning and designed to restrict access. There is a slippery slope here, and parents should be warned about this practice.”
Instead of viewing a label as a means to restrict access, library professionals should view it as a way to help kids and parents select age-appropriate materials. But parents are never the concern of anyone in the library industry. If you want to go deeper into that subject, I recommend my book Shut Up! The Bizarre War that One Public Library Waged Against the First Amendment for all the inside information on how these pro-porn policies became a religion at the ALA.
As it stands, the parents of Windham have a very uphill battle. The few books they found with obvious explicit content are dwarfed by the ones that don’t advertise it on the cover with bright rainbow colors. Short of reading every book in the library, there’s no way for any parent to know what’s really in them until it’s too late and has been downloaded into their childrens’ minds.
Source - PJ Media/Twitter - Image - Reuters - Video source - TheUnquirer/Twitter