2 Guys and a Chick Set Off Loudoun Library Dispute, reads the Washington Post headline.
At least now we have this admission, via LCPS officials:
A children’s book about two male penguins that hatch and parent a chick was pulled from library shelves in Loudoun County elementary schools this month after a parent complained that it promoted a gay agenda.
I guess thinking that a child should be able to go to her public school library and discover a book with a family that looks like hers, or like some other family she knows – even if they are just penguins – is part of the “gay agenda” now. Ditto that all children should have access to the very basic information that different kinds of families exist in the world. Thanks, unnamed parent, for telling us. This would be consistent with our other radical ideas, such as that hiring decisions should be based on job qualifications.
These good people must all be secretly promoting the “gay agenda,” too:
Following school system policy, the principal convened an advisory committee of principals, librarians, teachers and parents to review the book. The group deemed it acceptable, and the principal concurred. The parent appealed. Another committee of administrators, librarians and parents reviewed the book. That committee, too, recommended that it remain in the collection.
Superintendent Hatrick, of course, overruled the judgment of both committees and is trying to spin the decision as a compromise, or as he is putting it, a “split decision.” Let’s be perfectly clear about this. It is not a compromise. The book is not on the shelf. Parents have no way of knowing it is available. No other books from the “professional collection” are made available to parents. Teachers, knowing that their Superintendent has pulled it from the shelf, will be afraid to use it in the classroom. It might as well not be there at all. Why else would the parent have declined to appeal this decision?
Hatrick thought the book’s content might not be developmentally appropriate for some students, [school spokesman Wayde] Byard said. “He thought the book, for some of the younger students, would be better read with an adult or a teacher.”
Again, the “content” is not an abstract idea. There are children with two moms or two dads attending our public schools. Would interaction with their classmates also not be developmentally appropriate for them?
The book is recommended for children age 4 and up. Here’s just one of many parents we’ve been hearing from:
“We happen to be a mom and dad and a boy and a girl,” she said. “But sometimes you have a grandmother and a mother, sometimes you have just a dad, sometimes you have two moms or two dads. The important thing is that it’s a family of love.”
Interestingly, although we are hearing every day from parents at these schools, who are forwarding to us the emails they are sending to Dr. Hatrick and their school board representatives, at least one school board member has told a constituent that they haven’t heard from any other parents. If anyone tries to tell you this, know that it is not true.
However, it’s very important that they do hear from you. Otherwise, parents like the complainant, who are willing to keep badgering our schools for months, demanding appeal after appeal until they get their way, will be empowered to make decisions for everyone. If you have been angered by this and have not emailed or called Dr. Hatrick and the School Board, please do it. They need to know that this community won’t stand for censorship.
And please, don’t be hostile. I know that this is infuriating, but these officials are entitled to respect and civility. Not only that, but your message will not be heard if it’s presented as a personal attack. John Stevens posted a guide to successful advocacy at LCPS that has some helpful information about being heard effectively.
Email that goes to firstname.lastname@example.org will get to Dr. Hatrick, but you should send your note individually to school board members. They may not get it otherwise. Contact information for members is here.
The ending of the article is funny:
Last school year, a Loudoun parent challenged a school library book titled “Math Curse” because of a concern that it could be associated with witchcraft, said David Jones, supervisor of library media services.
A local committee recommended keeping “Math Curse” in the library. The decision was not appealed.
Could the difference be that the “Math Curse” parent wasn’t recruited and encouraged by a national advocacy organization? Time will tell.