The president of a school district’s board of trustees in Texas is facing backlash after criticizing parents who protested against the inclusion of pornographic books in their children’s libraries, as reported by the Daily Caller.
Ruthie Keyes, a retired teacher and president of the Keller Independent School District (KISD) board of trustees, defended the inclusion of Maia Kobabe’s book “Gender Queer” in the district’s libraries. In a Facebook post about the controversial book’s removal from the district, a parent rhetorically asked how “with so much beautiful literature available to enrich the mind and human spirit, THIS is what is offered for our youth to read??? KISD should be ashamed.”
In response, Keyes commented that the book was just one of “589,000 in the district,” and that “the only reason hundreds of people saw it is because people started distributing out on social media.”
“Those are the people that should be ashamed for distributing,” she added. “I wish people would want to be a part of the solution and ask what they can do to help instead of spreading hate and division.”
“Gender Queer” is a graphic novel that features visual depictions of homosexual acts, and thus has faced universal outrage from parents in districts where it is included in libraries. The book first came to prominence after being exposed in the Fairfax County Public Schools district (FCPS) in Fairfax County, Virginia; after parents protested the book’s presence at school board meetings, it was removed from all schools in the district.
“It would be strange if parents were not concerned about sexually explicit material accessible to their children,” said Nicole Neily, founder and president of the watchdog group Parents Defending Education. “The content of some of these books is not only ideological in nature but also graphic its depictions of sexual acts between adults and children. A strap-on dildo is not something parents expect to see in a book on the school library shelves.”
The book also drew condemnation from Governor Greg Abbott (R-Texas); in a letter to Dan Troxell, the executive director of the Texas School Board Association (TSBA), Abbott said that “parents have the right to shield their children from obscene content used in schools their children attend. They are right that Texas public schools should not provide or promote pornographic or obscene material to students.” He added that Troxell and the TSBA “have an obligation to Texas parents and students to ensure that no child in Texas is exposed to pornography or other inappropriate content while inside a Texas public school.”
In response to Keyes’ comment, Neily remarked that “sadly, in far too many districts across the country, school board members ignore and mock the concerns of the very people they have been elected to represent. It’s little wonder there were electoral repercussions last week – a trend that is likely to continue unless and until voters are treated with respect.”
Neily’s comments referenced the elections in Virginia, New Jersey, and a handful of other jurisdictions across the country last Tuesday. In Virginia, Republicans swept all three statewide offices and flipped the House of Delegates. The flagship campaign in the state, that of gubernatorial nominee Glenn Youngkin, heavily focused on the issue of left-wing indoctrination in public schools, and the subsequent protesting of school board meetings by concerned parents.