JCPS board votes unanimously to keep ‘Gender Queer’ book in libraries

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A Jefferson County Public Schools appeals board made a decision on whether to remove a book from two libraries. Miranda Stovall requested two schools, the Phoenix School of Discovery and Liberty High School, pull the book “Gender Queer” by Maia Kobabe from library shelves. The schools declined, so Stovall brought her request to the appeals board for school-based decision-making councils, or SBDMs.(Watch our story from June in the player above)On Monday, an appeals board unanimously decided to keep the books.”Gender Queer” is described by its publisher as a memoir of a young person who is trying to explain to their family what it means to be nonbinary and asexual. The book is called a graphic novel, which describes the illustrated comics that tell the story.Earlier in the summer, the appeals board gave each side 15 minutes to present their views, followed by 15 minutes of questions for each side.”I believe all children should be accepted and loved. Accepting and loving children does not mean putting pornography in their hands,” Stovall said.But critics said the words and images are too sexually explicit for a school library.”We have a law that makes this type of material a crime to distribute to minors, to children, because it’s clearly under the definition sexually explicit material,” said Clint Elliott, an attorney for Stovall.Supporters say the book provides rare comfort to LGBTQ students who are already marginalized in school and whose life experiences are underrepresented in traditional literature.”No community member should impose their views, their values and their interests on others by restricting another community access to particular books,” said Lynn Reynolds, executive director of library services for JCPS.JCPS has seen an uptick in requests for book removals in recent years, primarily for books dealing with race or LGBTQ topics, Reynolds said.Banning “Gender Queer” would set a bad precedent, she argued.”Suppression is oppression,” she said. One opponent of the book angrily called out for more time for public comment when the board went into closed session. WLKY will have more on this story tonight.

A Jefferson County Public Schools appeals board made a decision on whether to remove a book from two libraries.

Miranda Stovall requested two schools, the Phoenix School of Discovery and Liberty High School, pull the book “Gender Queer” by Maia Kobabe from library shelves.

The schools declined, so Stovall brought her request to the appeals board for school-based decision-making councils, or SBDMs.

(Watch our story from June in the player above)

On Monday, an appeals board unanimously decided to keep the books.

“Gender Queer” is described by its publisher as a memoir of a young person who is trying to explain to their family what it means to be nonbinary and asexual. The book is called a graphic novel, which describes the illustrated comics that tell the story.

Earlier in the summer, the appeals board gave each side 15 minutes to present their views, followed by 15 minutes of questions for each side.

“I believe all children should be accepted and loved. Accepting and loving children does not mean putting pornography in their hands,” Stovall said.

But critics said the words and images are too sexually explicit for a school library.

“We have a law that makes this type of material a crime to distribute to minors, to children, because it’s clearly under the definition sexually explicit material,” said Clint Elliott, an attorney for Stovall.

Supporters say the book provides rare comfort to LGBTQ students who are already marginalized in school and whose life experiences are underrepresented in traditional literature.

“No community member should impose their views, their values and their interests on others by restricting another community access to particular books,” said Lynn Reynolds, executive director of library services for JCPS.

JCPS has seen an uptick in requests for book removals in recent years, primarily for books dealing with race or LGBTQ topics, Reynolds said.

Banning “Gender Queer” would set a bad precedent, she argued.

“Suppression is oppression,” she said.

One opponent of the book angrily called out for more time for public comment when the board went into closed session.

WLKY will have more on this story tonight.

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