Virginia school district reinstates controversial books

Fairfax County Public Schools says “Gender Queer” by Maia Kobabe and “Lawn Boy” by Jonathan Evison are appropriate for high school.

Updated: November 28, 2021 - 8:44pm

Fairfax County Public Schools reinstated two controversial books into their library after briefly removing them to evaluate whether they were suitable reading materials for high school students.

The two books, “Gender Queer” by Maia Kobabe and “Lawn Boy” by Jonathan Evison, came under scrutiny after a parent expressed her disapproval of some of the content during a public school board meeting. The mother, Stacy Langton, claimed both books contain pedophilic sex between men and boys and one contains a drawing of sexual acts, which she believed to be pornographic.

Upon receiving a formal complaint, FCPS temporarily removed the books and formed two committees of school administrators, librarians, parents and students to review whether the material was appropriate.

Both books, which are optional reading material and not required for coursework, were reinstated after lengthy discussions about the merits and the concerns about the books, according to a news release.

According to FCPS, the committees found that neither book contains pedophilic sex. Rather, the committees determined that “Lawn Boy” provides an examination of race, class, socio-economic struggle and sexual identity. It determined that “Gender Queer” is a narrative of a person’s journey with gender identity and provides a perspective that is not widely represented.

“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.”

Parents in Fairfax County, Loudoun County and other school divisions have protested various school policies in the last couple of years. Some parents have objected to reading material, course material, critical race theory and transgender policies they feel threaten girls’ athletics and free speech.