Fairfax County Public Schools announced Tuesday it would reinstate two books containing pornographic images and language to the district’s high school libraries.
The two books, Genderqueer by Maia Kobabe and Lawnboy by Jonathan Evison, had been removed from circulation pending an internal review, which ultimately determined that the books would stay in public high schools.
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“The decision reaffirms FCPS’ ongoing commitment to provide diverse reading materials that reflect our student population, allowing every child an opportunity to see themselves reflected in literary characters,” FCPS said in a press release. “Both reviews concluded that the books were valuable in their potential to reach marginalized youth who may struggle to find relatable literary characters that reflect their personal journeys.”
Kobabe and Evison’s book contains graphic depictions of oral sex between homosexual characters. Genderqueer also contains a graphic, ancient Greek-style image of a bearded man with a younger-looking person, which critics said depicted pedophilia.
The two books touched off a national controversy when Fairfax mother Stacy Langton read from the books during the county school board’s September meeting but was cut off before her allotted time to speak to the board had expired. The board cited the explicit nature of Langton’s comments for shutting her down.
“I’m angry. I’m shocked, but I probably shouldn’t be,” Langton told the Washington Examiner. “The committee finding that the materials are not obscene is patently absurd.”
Langton said she was told there is an appeals process, which she vowed to pursue.
“It's insulting,” she said. “This is essentially FCPS coming out in favor of porn in schools.”
Nicole Neily, the president and founder of Parents Defending Education, blasted the review board’s decision as “insulting and downright cowardly.”
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“Schools are no place for hardcore pornography, yet Fairfax County Public Schools insists on pushing this graphic material upon our children,” Neily said. “By announcing their decision over Thanksgiving break, they clearly hope that parents won’t take notice. However, their actions show just how unfamiliar they are with parents: We’re always looking out for our children, and we won’t take this lying down.”