McMaster wants to rid SC schools of sexually explicit books


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Stack of old used books in the school library, image processed crosswise.  Getty Images |  Royalty-free

Stack of old used books in the school library, image processed crosswise. Getty Images | Royalty-free

Getty Images / iStockphoto

Imagine your favorite book, you know the one, slightly worn cover, horny pages.

You know certain passages by heart.

It may be the first book you read that left you hopeful, or the first that ultimately featured characters who looked and lived like you.

It stirred your soul, took you to distant lands, made you laugh or cry, encouraged you to take action.

And even now, years after you first sat down in your comfy chair or on a park bench or beach blanket to start reading, you still cherish it.

Now imagine the feeling if someone told you that you could never read it again.

Banning books isn’t a new concept, but as we approach 2022, it’s a movement that has found new life.

A simple Google search brings up the news after the story of efforts – some more successful than others – to ban books from schools in places like Fairfax County, Virginia, York, Pennsylvania and across. the State of Texas.

Now it looks like South Carolina is next.

Late Wednesday afternoon, Governor Henry McMaster tweeted a letter he sent that day to Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman.

It began with “Dear Superintendent Spearman: It has been brought to my attention that public schools in South Carolina can provide students with access – whether in school libraries, electronic databases, or both – to books. and totally inappropriate material, including sexually explicit and obscene. images or representations. After learning about this problem from naturally outraged parents and looking at the examples provided of such obscene and pornographic representations, I was shocked and disappointed.

McMaster then called for an investigation to determine how the book he felt was inappropriate ended up in one of the state’s schools. He concluded the letter by suggesting that laws may have been broken. The letter was even copied to Chief Mark Keel of the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.

The letter comes after parents living in the Fort Mill school district complained about the book Gender Queer: A Memoir, by Maia Kobabe.

Publisher Simon & Schuster lists the Comic Book or Graphic Novel, an autobiography of how Kobabe handled being non-binary, as appropriate for students in grades 10 and up.

The book has been the target of other ban efforts, most recently in Virginia, where pressure to ban books has become an issue during the state governorate election.

McMaster, in an apparent nod to Virginia’s pressure to remove the book from school libraries, said the book “contains sexually explicit and pornographic representations, which easily meet or exceed the legal definition of obscenity.”

It includes representations of oral sex and masturbation.

Fort Mill School District spokesperson Joe Burke told McClatchy Newspapers that the district received a complaint about the book last week and that it was undergoing a review process.

He added that “only the three high schools in the district and students of high school age had access to the book.”

It has been withdrawn from circulation while the review process continues.

Granted, the topic may not be to everyone’s liking, but the good news is that we are fortunate to live in a society which, at least in theory and often in practice, not only values ​​freedom of movement. expression, but also freedom of choice.

You don’t have to read Maia Kobabe and your kids’ book either, but it’s there for those who want to read it.

It is available to young people who, like Kobabe, may be in the process of finding out who they are or why they feel the way they do.

Very often, book ban efforts target the work of underrepresented people, people who for decades have had little access to literature featuring characters like them, including black Americans and those who identify as LGBTQIA.

Instead of fearing such literature, the people of South Carolina should embrace the opportunities that books represent, a chance to learn and grow, and to shed the many prejudices that have festered for too long in our country.

Those who are pushing for the ban, and in places like Spotsylvania County, Va., The ability to burn books, should also understand that once we agree that certain books can be banned, we tacitly agree that other books, including those you love, may suffer a similar fate.

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