In a North Carolina school district, a contentious debate has emerged surrounding the availability of sexually explicit books to students. Here’s the full story.
Parents Voiced Their Concerns
This issue came to the forefront during a recent Wake County Public School System (WCPSS) school board meeting, where outraged parents voiced their concerns.
The WCPSS had recently approved a revision to its “selection of instructional materials” policy, which was intended to prevent the inclusion of materials deemed “pervasively vulgar.”
However, the policy left the term “pervasively vulgar” undefined, leading to ambiguity over what types of content would be restricted.
She Raised Her Concerns
Dana Ramos, a local mother, emerged as one of the vocal critics of the situation.
During the June 6 WCPSS meeting, Ramos emphasized that the issue was not about banning books, but rather about ensuring that inappropriate sexual content is not accessible to students within school premises.
She Gave an Example
She specifically cited the book “What Girls Are Made Of” by Elana K. Arnold as an example of sexually explicit material that she believes should not be available in school libraries.
What Is This Book About, Anyway?
“What Girls Are Made Of” is a young adult novel by award-winning author Elana K. Arnold.
The book explores themes of love and what makes a relationship healthy or unhealthy, and it also includes frank (but not erotic) discussion of topics including birth control, abortion, and masturbation.
The book is written for a coming-of-age audience.
The Book Can Be Found in Several School Libraries
An analysis conducted by Crisis in the Classroom (CITC) indicated that “What Girls Are Made Of” can be found in multiple high school libraries within the WCPSS.
It Has Explicit Content
The book, marketed as an exploration of female identity and imperfections, has sparked controversy due to its depiction of explicit sexual content.
She Read a Part From the Book
Ramos read a passage from the book during the meeting, drawing attention to its graphic description of a teenage character’s encounter with sex.
Ramos raised a crucial question during her address to the school board: “Why is vulgar erotica in our schools for minors?”
No Contribution to Academic Enrichment
She challenged board members to explain the literary value of such content and how it contributes to academic enrichment.
Several Parents Supported Her
Many parents present at the meeting echoed her sentiments, calling for the removal of sexually explicit books from school libraries.
The Pastor Also Shared His View
The concerns voiced by Ramos and other parents were further echoed by North Carolina pastor John K. Amanchukwu Sr., who has been actively addressing sexually explicit library materials in various school districts across the state.
Adult-Themed Books Under the Guise of Diversity
Amanchukwu Sr. criticized the inclusion of what he referred to as adult-themed books under the guise of diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.
The School Board Should Reconsider
He urged the school board to reconsider their approach and questioned whether such explicit content aligns with the values of education and responsible upbringing.
Social Media Users Expressed Their Views
Several Twitter users shared their thoughts on the incident.
One Twitter user wrote, “The Demoralization of children is loud and clear!”
But Other Users Are Hitting Back
One user responded to the video of the woman reading from the book, and said, “Talking about sex, even having sex, does not equal erotica. That passage is, in fact, on of the most un-erotic things I’ve heard.”
Another chimed in, “Sounds like it covers things 14 year old girls are already dealing with.”
One user pointed out how problematic it can be to ban any books that include mention of sex. “Sounds out of context… did you also ban 1984?? Lots of sex in that”
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Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Maksim Shmeljov. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.