Washingtonville parents call for book on gender, sexuality to be banned from high school for explicit images
Several Washingtonville Central School District parents have reached out to News 12 with concerns about sexually explicit images in a graphic memoir that they say is available to students at the high school’s library.
The award-winning 2019 book “Gender Queer" explores the journey from adolescence to adulthood - with a focus on gender identity, sexuality and identifying outside the gender binary.
Concerned parents say the images depicted are too graphic for underage children and want the book removed from school library shelves.
"It's not appropriate," said Terry Dunn. "That's up to parents to talk to their children, not the school to brainwash."
News 12 reported on similar parent complaints in Yorktown last February, which resulted in a district review on whether to remove the book, among others, from circulation.
Other Yorktown parents said they support the book’s availability to adolescent children.
“Having a book you can relate to, that you can see yourself in the characters in the book is critical for teenagers trying to develop their self-worth,” said Gary Stellings.
Yorktown district officials say a committee spent months reviewing the books and that they remain in circulation at the Yorktown High School library.
According to the American Library Association, “Gender Queer” is one of the most challenged graphic novels in recent years.
Washingtonville Central School District Superintendent Larry Washington issued a statement to News 12 Thursday, saying due to parent concerns, the book has been removed from the high school’s general library shelves to behind the librarian‘s desk, where the book is available to students upon request.
“The book was relocated because it includes a few illustration panels that are of an explicit nature,” said Washington.
Washington added that the district is committed to creating a safe and inclusive school environment for all students that is free from discrimination, harassment, bullying and intimidation based on a person’s gender identity or sexual orientation.