Pornography Replacing Books in School Library: CVSD Parents Fight Back

by Danielle Dolin

Imagine for a moment that you are tidying up your ten-year-old’s room. As you sift through her desk for trash and laundry, your eyes catch a book falling out of her backpack. Bending down to put it back, you notice the title: “It’s Perfectly Normal” by Robie H. Harris and Michael Emberley. In the top left corner, highlighted in red, it reads, “for ages 10 and up!” The cover is an illustrated array of various adolescents. Curiosity strikes, and you begin to skim.

Your quick exploration of this book takes you to pages with pictures of minors masturbating, descriptions of sex, including oral and anal acts, maturing teens bent over, exposing genitals, graphic images of sexual intercourse, and much more “sexually obscene content.” You flush with panic and question your daughter about where she got the book and if she read it. She replies, “the school library, Mom. It’s a book about puberty. And yes, I started to read it.”

This is just a glimpse of what parents have been rallying against in The Chino Valley School District in California over the last few months. But, in mid-last month, their efforts made headway and finally some progress. With the help of Karen England, President of the Capitol Resource Institute, these concerned parents now have a pathway to remove pornography from their schools. On her website, Take Back The Classroom, England details various graphic books found on the shelves in schools across several states. The listed books are alarming.

A simple search on her website reveals books that parents have discovered in their children’s school libraries, some too graphic to repeat here. However, you can view parents quoting the books in the school board meeting through this video. The book “Alice on The Outside,” by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, makes sex so casual, it’s like a guide to promoting promiscuity. The author uses the character to discuss tampons stretching a girl’s vagina, so that sexual intercourse does not hurt, and how oral sex can be a replacement for intercourse to avoid pregnancy. It’s porn for kids. The “memoir,” “Gender Queer,” by Maia Kobabe, is a graphic novel illustrating a child’s “queer or questioning” sexuality. It depicts pictures of intercourse with strap-on sexual devices, oral sex in cars, and first sexual experiences as early as 11 or 12. These books are just more examples of the desensitization and normalization of pornography taking place in our school districts.

When you send your child to school, there will inevitably be aspects of the educational process you may disagree with. As parents, your hope, though, is that your child’s educational journey will lead them to places of real intellectual growth. You expect the book in your 10-year-old’s backpack to be more along the lines of Lois Lowry’s “The Giver.” However, you did not realize that this book was being taken off the school library shelves because educators were concerned for the ten-year-old’s development, saying that “children, who don’t yet have the critical faculties to defend themselves from a piece of nationalist propaganda,” are reading it. But, books like the one you actually found in her backpack are being praised and replacing this literature. After all, it’s healthier for 10-year-olds to read a graphic novel with pornographic material because they have the “critical faculties to defend themselves.” There’s no hypocrisy there.

Fortunately, there is hope. The Model Policy to Challenge Vulgar Books in School Libraries is linked on her website and gives parents a route to removing these materials that are nothing short of pornography. The process is as follows: “Materials that have been labeled as harmful to minors under state or federal law by a court or administrative body are also subject to this policy. Once a formal complaint is received, the principal of the school in which the challenged material is located is required to remove the item and notify the district Superintendent of the removal within three days. Once notified, the Superintendent shall notify the school board within one business day. The board shall then hold a public hearing within forty-five days to determine whether the material is appropriate for student use or whether it is harmful to minors and therefore should be permanently removed from all district facilities.”

Parents supporting this Model Policy are voicing that they are trying to raise Christian children. These parents are appalled at the “literature” available in their child’s library and even more so that it is geared toward “normalizing” sex. Their arguments illustrate that their children will ask questions when they are ready, and to their parents. They have a strong desire to keep sex sacred and the instruction of sexual education developmentally appropriate and logical. The opposition shouted that this was an attempt to “shove Christian beliefs down the throats of students.”

The First Amendment Right of The United States Constitution states that, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” The one exception to this Amendment is with regards to child pornography. Child pornography is illegal under federal law, and in all states, it is punishable by up to life imprisonment. “U.S. Laws regarding child pornography are virtually always enforced and amongst the harshest in the world.”

Child pornography under federal law is defined as “any visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving a minor (someone under 18 years of age).”

Our First Amendment right is perhaps one of the most revered. Throughout history, however, it has been tested and even broken. Additionally, over the last several years, schools have seen a rise in banned books. Reasons from racial slurs to repeating parts of American history we are ashamed of are stated. Dr. Seuss, The Great Gatsby, and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn all can be found on the “banned books” list. And as fast as these classics seemed to disappear from shelves in school libraries, a new sort of “literature” has become more prevalent. Pornography for children. Are educators not concerned about protecting children and exposing them to criminality?

So, we can ban books when they are bothersome, but not when they are criminal? Children are the exception to the First Amendment because, unlike adults who can make informed decisions on whether or not to purchase that “romantic” novel, the Playboy, or even search the realm of online child pornography; a child has no idea of the depth of the rabbit hole a book in their school library can reach. Or the damage it can do at such a young age; causing problems of promiscuity and gender confusion for years to come.

If the Supreme Court views pornography as outside the protections of the 1st Amendment Right of The United States Constitution, then what makes these novels and children’s books appearing on shelves in School Libraries across the country any different? There are pictures of oral sex for children. Is that not porn? Yes, it is. It is also criminal, and although it is wonderful that the Chino Valley Parents finally have a route to expunge the material from their school district’s library shelves, the fact that these parents had to fight for this pathway is sickening.

Brittany Stewart, an accomplished writer and educator, draws inspiration from her 23-year marriage and upbringing near Lake Tahoe in Verdi, Nevada, now residing in Tucson, Arizona. With her Bachelor’s degree in Education, emphasizing Native American Literature and Journalism, Brittany is a multifaceted professional who is also a Licensed Massage Therapist. She is deeply involved in Tucson’s homeschooling community, leading a homeschool group, teaching dance, and offering art classes. She and her family have a homestead in Southern Arizona, where her husband hunts and she tends to the garden, emphasizing the importance of God and family in her life while continually seeking adventure through her travels.

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