ATLANTA — The Fulton County school district removed four book titles from its school libraries, calling them “sexually explicit.”
The move came after parents raised concerns to district officials, a spokesperson said. The four books removed were “Flamer,” “Blankets,” “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl,” and “Gender Queer.”
Two of the books have LGBTQ themes, but a spokesperson said those themes had nothing to do with their removal.
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Brian Noyes, the Chief Communications Officer for Fulton County Schools, declined an on-camera interview but issued a written statement.
“The following books found in the libraries of multiple high and middle schools were determined to include inappropriate sexually explicit descriptions and visuals,” the statement said. “The district is looking into the selection process and creating a manner to screen more thoroughly for this type of material prior to books being selected for purchase.”
Channel 2′s Bryan Mims reviewed two of the books. “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” has sexually explicit dialogue and profanity. “Gender Queer” is a graphic novel with images of nudity and sexual acts.
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“Fulton County Schools strives to keep relevant and appropriate learning materials available for our students,” the district’s statement said. “Our materials must meet multiple criteria including being age-appropriate.”
Zdena Spackova, a Fulton County resident, agreed with the district’s decision, saying the books are better suited for a public library.
“You know, if somebody wants it, put it in a library, don’t put it in a school library,” Spackova told Channel 2 Action News.
But Laura Van Riper called it censorship.
“I think that the groups that are pushing for that have an agenda that is not about keeping children safe,” Van Riper said. “It’s about pushing a conservative political agenda.”
These titles have sparked controversy in other school districts. “Flamer” and “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” were removed from 20 Cobb County School District libraries for their sexually explicit content.
Last year, throughout Forsyth County, educators banned eight books. The school district believed the books contained sexually explicit content.
However, the ban landed the district in trouble with the U.S. Department of Education. Now the district has to provide more transparency with its book removal process.
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