This is the second in a series of articles about how schoolchildren are introduced to sexual topics in schools. Along the way, we’ll point to resources parents and concerned citizens can use to push back on the sexualization and confusion of children, as well as resources to help children and teens who encounter these issues. Some of the examples – from schools, books and curriculums, may be crude or graphic. Links to outside articles and resources are for informational purposes and do not imply an endorsement. Here is the first article in the series.
In 2019, parents in Loudoun County, Virginia, discovered that their district spent millions of dollars to purchase thousands of books as part of a “Diverse Classrooms and Libraries Program.” According to Parent and Child Loudoun, which advocates for transparency and parental involvement in the district:
Concerned parents raised the alarm in early September that many books incorporated LGBTQ themes in grades as early as Kindergarten including the promotion of Queer Theory concepts, as well as sexually inappropriate and even explicit language in other grades including excessive profanity and frequent descriptions of underage drinking, fondling, masturbation, orgasms, oral sex, sexual intercourse, sexual abuse, statutory rape, incest, and rape.
Parent and Child Loudoun reviewed and listed hundreds of age-inappropriate, sexually confusing, explicit, objectionable, and profane books that were placed in schools in classrooms and libraries in their district. Here are just a few examples:
- When Kayla was Kyle, by Amy Fabrikant – An elementary school picture book about a boy who “transitions” into a girl.
- Teach Me, by R.A. Nelson – The “young adult” (YA) novel tells the story of a 16-year-old girl and her seduction and statutory rape by her male high school teacher.
- All Out: The No-Longer-Secret Stories of Queer Teens Throughout the Ages by S. Mitchell – The book in middle and high school libraries contains sexually explicit and homosexual content.
- Dear Rachel Maddow,by A. Kisner – Another YA novel where the lesbian-identified protagonist, from a troubled home, writes emails to the stabilizing force in her life – MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow. Contains some sexual content and more than 100 uses of profanity.
Children are harmed by being exposed to age-inappropriate, obscene and explicit content. Such experiences can lead to struggles with pornography, compulsive masturbation, sexual identity, shame, self-esteem, sexual activity with other children, and developing and maintaining healthy relationships.
Recent stories have shown that this isn’t isolated to one county in Virginia, but is a national problem. Parents Defending Education (PDE) reported that Kuztown Area High School, in Berks County, Pennsylvania, was offering students the books Gender Queer (featuring transgenderism and graphic illustrations of sexual activity) and All Boys Aren’t Blue (the memoir of a “queer” black boy, including his first sexual relationships).
In Texas, “more than 1,500 parents have signed a petition by Texas mothers calling their school board to remove 90 ‘pornographic books’ from children’s library shelves in the Keller Independent School District,” reported The Washington Times.
PDE also reported that Mesa County Valley School District 51, in Colorado, offers resources for teachers including:
- 15 Great New LGBTQ Middle Grade Books
- 30 Essential LGBT+ Books for YA Readers
- Books with LGBT Character for Grades PreK-3, Grades 4-7, Grades 9 and up
- Diverse Children’s Books to Support LGBTQ Inclusive Elementary Schools
In Florida, the Florida Citizens Alliance produced a report about objectionable and offensive books, the “2021 Porn In Schools Report.” The group reviewed books for children that introduce them to transgenderism and homosexuality.
It also lists adult and YA novels, often found in schools, some of which may violate Florida law by containing “explicit and detailed verbal descriptions or narrative accounts of sexual excitement, or sexual conduct and that is harmful to minors.”
Teachers unions and library associations are often the biggest promoters of this material. The NEA is clear that it wants to transform education “into something it was never designed to be: racially and socially just, and equitable.” The teachers union collaborates with LGBT activist groups and provides numerous resources for teachers to promote homosexuality and transgenderism in schools.
The American Library Association (ALA) is another national group which supports exposing children to sexually explicit and confusing materials. The organization has a bill of rights which states, “A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.”
The organization believes that parents can be kept in the dark about what their children read, as another “right” states, “All people, regardless of origin, age, background, or views, possess a right to privacy and confidentiality in their library use.”
The ALA makes it clear that all books should be available to all students: “Restricting access to library materials based on age or grade level does not respect the individual needs, interests, and abilities of patrons and violates the Library Bill of Rights” (our emphasis).
So how can parents respond? We’ve given some suggestions to parents in the first article in this series, “Sexualizing Schoolchildren: Comprehensive Sex Ed,” but here are a few more ideas:
- Get informed: Parents are finding controversial material in school libraries across the country, and children are harmed by being exposed to obscene and explicit sexual content.
- Consider donating books with moral and ethical values or socially conservative world views to your school library.
- Remember that teachers, administrators and school staff may be allies on this issue, wanting to protect children from harmful materials.
- Let the library staff know about explicit content that has been found in the library. School staff don’t read every book that comes in but rely upon recommendations from other organizations, outside reviews, and community input when deciding what content to purchase.
- The majority of school libraries have policies to challenge books. Look into these policies and follow the guidance if you and other parents would like to challenge a book or other resource.
- Consider joining your school’s or district’s book collection review committee.
- Parents across the country are forming local, state and national online groups and political action committees to monitor schools, share information, fight to protect children and advocate for parent’s rights. Just a few examples of this include Parents Defending Education, Parent and Child Loudoun, Informed Parents of Washington, Concerned Parents of California, and Moms for Liberty. Many parents groups have an internet or social media presence, so you can search for one in your city, district or state.
- Our free resource Back to School – For Parentshelps you understand what’s happening in schools and take practical steps to protect your children. The downloadable PDF includes sections on libraries and classrooms, explains parents’ rights, suggests action steps, lists helpful organizations, and gives guidance for talking with children about these issues.
Remember, you are rightly concerned about these issues and not alone in your desire to protect children, adolescents and teens. Know, too, that there are many resources available as you work to protect your children and to provide them a healthy foundation about relationships, sexuality and marriage.
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