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BooksBrevard Public Schools removes book with sexually explicit art from high school...

Brevard Public Schools removes book with sexually explicit art from high school library

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Brevard Public Schools has removed a book containing graphic illustrations of LGBTQ sexual experiences from a high school library.

A statement from the district Monday said staff were notified last week that the Melbourne High School library had a book in its collection that includes “adult images that have no place in education.”

The statement does not include the name of the book, but last week photos of a book titled “Gender Queer: A Memoir” from the Melbourne High School Library circulated on Facebook. The book is an illustrated memoir that depicts author Maia Kobabe’s reckoning with gender identity and sexuality. Kokabe identifies as neither fully male nor fully female. The book contains explicit drawings of sex and genitalia.

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“The book was taken out of the library immediately after district leaders learned of the content of the book,” a district spokesperson wrote in a statement. “BPS has guidelines for allowing books into our library and this book failed to meet those guidelines.”

“BPS staff immediately agreed that this book violates our guidelines and that it has no place in our school district. I have directed staff to ensure there are no other similar books in our libraries,” BPS Superintendent Mark Mullins said in the statement. “I want to remind families that each school’s library books can be reviewed online. I encourage parents to review the content that is available to students.”

The book has been flagged so it can’t be purchased again, and district staff will be retrained “in the process of purchasing book titles,” according to the news release.

The book’s place in school libraries has been questioned before. In late September, a northern Virginia school district removed it from school library shelves after a parent raised concerns about the book at a school board meeting.

The publisher of the book condemned its removal in a statement at the time, calling the removal “short-sighted and reactionary.”

“Oni Press supports Maia Kobabe for the truth and strength in sharing eir story, and hope to be a home for others who want to share their own stories with the world. The fact is, GENDER QUEER is an important, timely piece of work that serves as an invaluable resource for not only those that identity as nonbinary or genderqueer, but for people looking to understand what that means.”

Bailey Gallion is the education reporter for FLORIDA TODAY. Contact Gallion at 321-242-3786 or bgallion@floridatoday.com.

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