Parents protesting more books at Prince William school libraries

While Virginia Beach Public Schools is removing several books from school libraries after objections about sexual content from some parents, Prince William County Public Schools has so far refused to do the same with any books about concerns. parents.

This article was written by InsideNoVa.com, WTOP’s press partner, and republished with permission. Sign up for InsideNoVa.com’s free email subscription today.

While Virginia Beach Public Schools is removing several books from school libraries after objections about sexual content from some parents, Prince William County Public Schools has so far refused to do the same with any books about concerns. parents.

But the local school system is seeing an increase in challenges to library books, which comes as conservative parents vow to maintain the new control over school libraries.

The school system faced six challenges for library books in the past school year, according to data obtained by InsideNoVa using a Freedom of Information Act request.

Newbery Medal winner Lois Lowry’s ‘The Giver’ has been challenged for ‘infanticide and euthanasia’. Other challenged books were “Carlos Gomez Freestyles” by Chuck Gonzalez, “Cultivating Strong Girls” by Nancy Evans, “Julián is a Mermaid” by Jessica Love, “The Conscious Parent’s Guide to Gender Identity” by Darlene Tando and “What Riley Wore Wore” by Elana K. Arnold and Linda Davick. None have been removed from local school libraries.

According to a spokesperson for the school system, new books are added to the library from recommendations “based on student feedback, staff feedback, community feedback and professional journal lists of recommended texts.” Recommendations are then reviewed by professional librarians and presented to “supervising administrators for comment and approval prior to purchase by the school accountant”.

When a library book is challenged, it goes to a committee that reviews the material and makes a decision. In Virginia Beach, committees ruled that two books: Alice Sebold’s “Lucky” and Ellen Hopkins’ “Triangles” would no longer be in school libraries after they were deemed “no longer age-appropriate”. according to The Virginian-Pilot.

In Prince William, the mere mention of a same-sex relationship sparked an outcry from some parents last year, when the librarian at Thurgood Marshall Elementary School read ‘Prince & Knight’ – a book about a prince who falls in love with a knight – during the school morning announcements.

After the incident, County Supervisor Yesli Vega (R-Coles) — her party’s nominee for Virginia’s 7th congressional district seat this fall — said she was “helping a resident of Prince William and dealing with private with local government officials regarding the availability of books for our children depicting graphic sex acts inappropriate for young minds.

The school system said last year’s six challenges outnumbered those received in a typical year.

After a 2021-2022 school year that saw increased community organizing along partisan lines toward the Prince William County school system and school board, conservative parents in the county are already organizing for the year ahead. A Prince William chapter of the Moms for Liberty parent group plans to launch activities later this month.

Leaders of the new chapter did not respond to requests from InsideNoVa, but Moms for Liberty groups elsewhere, including in Fauquier County, have regularly challenged books in school libraries.

Most of Prince William’s reading challenges were sent by Chris Fundeburg, a Nokesville resident who told InsideNoVa he has kids in the school division. Fundenburg has regularly used the school board’s public comment period to protest the division’s “trans agenda”. He graphically depicted the genitals of some trans people at a school board meeting in June, prompting dozens of those in attendance to come out for the duration of his speech.

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