Porn Book Covers

Pornography in the Schools

The Simplicity and the Madness Surrounding Pornographic Book Content for Kids

Local parents, residents, and concerned community members have been appealing to the Washoe County School District (WCSD) to remove a list of 13 books from the district’s school libraries by submitting formal book challenges to the district office as well as to individual school site administrators. Book challengers submitted signed affidavits attesting to the fact that the books were read and contain explicit sexual content with detailed pornographic descriptions. Opponents of the book challenges claim that the pornographic content is appropriate and needs to remain in libraries in order to inform students about their preferred type of sexual activity.

WCSD Board of Trustees President Beth Smith said, “Books are 100% parent controlled.”

  • Yes, but only if the parent goes through the library collection and presents a list to the librarian of objectionable material. This is an “Opt Out” approach.

Jeff Scott, Washoe County Library System Director,  said in response to requiring kids to get parental permission to check out a book, “That’s a book ban.… All the books we purchase are appropriate for the intended audience, for children.”

  • No, explicit sexual content in books in NOT appropriate for children.

Bri Schmidt, President of Silver State Equality said, “It’s important to their [LGBTG children’s] mental health.”

  • Kids reading The Bluest Eye helps mental health? (Read by Senator Kennedy here [caution – very sexually explicit] [HERE]
  • Or Me & Earl and the Dying Girl (Read excerpts here [caution again – very sexually explicit] [HERE]

Smith has stated that the books are already “100% parent controlled.” She is referring to the fact that a parent can search through a school’s library collection, then present a list of books to the school librarian indicating which books his/her child may not check out, and assume that the librarian will comply with the request. This is the “Opt Out” approach. Books such as The Bluest Eye or Me & Earl and the Dying Girl are examples of books with pornographic content presently on book shelves in local middle and high school libraries and readily available to kids.

The problem with her argument is that this material should not be accessible by any kids under 18 years old.

If a parent wishes to obtain and expose their own kids to this content, book challengers 100% support their right to do so. However, the question remains, “Why would the school provide books to students that an adult would be arrested for if handed to a child on the street? See NRS 201.235 to 201.265 to see the statutes that regulate peddling obscenity to children.

In a recent News 4 television clip about library book challenges being made by local residents, Sophie Lincoln reported that “opponents argue that it is the parent’s right to choose what their child reads and limiting access to the books at schools infringes on that right.But hold on — parents don’t attend school, so their rights are not being restricted. Students’ access to the books should be restricted for all kids in the schools, but we fully stand behind a parent’s right to obtain the books outside of schools for their kids! That’s a parent’s right. Why do opponents attempt to turn the argument inside out?

Parental rights are not infringed when kids don’t have access to pornographic material!!! The parent always has the right to access the books elsewhere.

In another News 4 clip, Scott claims that removing children’s books amounts to “book banning” because kids would be required to ask permission from their parents, and “That’s a book ban.… All the books we purchase are appropriate … for the intended audience, for children.” [HERE]

First of all, we don’t agree that books like The Bluest Eye are children’s books, and yes, a kid needs to ask their parents for permission to read such content. It is not in the purview of the librarian to present material of a pornographic nature that NRS statutes consider peddling obscenity to minors. To reiterate, there are no banned books in America! All of the books presently being challenged are available at the public library and from book sellers across the country. Presenting these 13 challenged books to kids without parental permission? THAT infringes on parents’ rights.

Bri Schmidt hopes to guarantee that LGBTQ youth are represented in school library books “because it’s important to their mental health, and encourages empathy” for students to access that type of book. What she and her group’s members fail to acknowledge is that the books in question are being challenged due to pornographic depictions, descriptions of sex acts, graphic details of people engaged in heterosexual and homosexual sex acts, strapping on dildos and lubing up for anal sex, and describing every detail of those sexual activities. Why do teens and kids need to read about these sex acts? Are these descriptions what Schmidt means by “important for their mental health”? Perhaps for their sexual arousal, but surely not for their mental health.

I want to point the reader to the recent Tuesday school board meeting on Feb. 27 where a resident made public comment on two books, Bloom and Flamer. She had previously read both books cover to cover and presented her findings. A News 4 report on the meeting chose not to highlight the portion of her comments in which she described Bloom as a ‘love story’ between two young men. (See her comments not reported by News 4: [HERE]   She said the book was “well-written, had no objectionable sexual content, and was suitable in reflecting the homosexual lifestyle.” Flamer, on the other hand, is one of the challenged books, and the speaker stated, “This book should not be in the hands of young minds.” The speaker who preceded her was against book removals stated, “Books fill children’s heads with ideas”. Did she mean ideas such as content describing suicide, homophobic bullying, and racism as contained in Flamer? Or, was she referring to Me & Earl and the Dying Girl which describes lining up girls to eat their p@@@y? Flamer does not “fill children’s heads with ideas” of the sort I would want for any of my children, and most of you would agree.

Schmidt’s presumption is based on the notion that individuals challenging the books are challenging the lifestyles of the gay, lesbian, transgender, and other community members; they very emphatically are not. No one is challenging anyone’s sexual preferences, nor calling anyone’s lifestyle pornographic as Bri Schmidt falsely accused book challengers in her comments to News 4.

Proponents of keeping the sexually explicit books in school libraries have become extremely unreasonable.

Anyone reading what’s in the challenged books will agree that kids should not be reading them. What is the underlying problem? Several times during and after library board meetings, book challengers have earnestly and calmly tried to show the book content and discuss the books’ content with those who oppose removing the books from school libraries. Instead of a willingness to understand both sides of the issue, “Get away from me!” and, “I would never talk to the likes of you” are their responses. It’s sad, but true, that this is the result of repeatedly attempting to reach across the aisle to try to unite our community.

In the spirit of unity and resolution, and in another attempt to help folks understand that this is not a personal attack on anyone, this invitation goes out to Beth Smith, Jeff Scott, Bri Schmidt, and anyone else, to join in an open forum discussion regarding these books. We can read some content to show that the focus is obscenity and vulgarity, and that the content appears in both a heterosexual and homosexual context.

No matter the subject, pornographic depictions and descriptions in books should NOT be made available to public school kids.

I encourage you to review the books for yourself – don’t just take my word for it. Look them up yourselves, and you be the judge. Then, contact school board members to let them know what YOU think.

School Board Trustee Email Addresses

Jeffrey.Church@washoeschools.net

Colleen.Westlake@washoeschools.net

Joseph.Rodriguez@washoeschools.net

Elizabeth.Smith@washoeschools.net

Alex.Woodley@washoeschools.net

Adam.Mayberry@washoeschools.net

DNicolet@washoeschools.net

BoardMembers@washoeschools.net(to send to all trustees at once)

Superintendent@washoeschools.net – Superintendent Kristen McNeill

View the Challenged Books

  • To locate the books in the WCSD library system, anyone can use this link: [HERE]
  • To view which school libraries have the books on their shelves (excerpts are also viewable): [HERE]
  • View the entire list of challenged books and schools where they may be found [HERE]
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Write your school board members. Tell them what you think and how you feel about these books. Let them know that you understand what the content is, how to find it in the district’s library system, and how to verify that the books are in the schools. Then demand the books be removed and demand that the district start teaching our kids how to read and write again – without pornographic content!

By Marla Wolfe

(Marla Wolfe is a parent, grandparent and concerned community member of Washoe County for over 50 years.)