Books containing extremely graphic sex scenes and pictures were returned to a Virginia’s school library last week.
The books—”Gender Queer: A Memoir” by Maia Kobabe, and “Lawn Boy” by Jonathan Evison—are among many books containing sexual content that have been banned from school libraries in several states, including Arkansas, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Missouri, Tennessee, and Minnesota.
In Florida and Texas, police have launched criminal investigations into the availability of the books in school libraries after receiving complaints from parents.
Both books were chosen to receive the American Library Association’s Alex Awards, which are given to 10 books annually with “special appeal to young adults ages 12 through 18.”
The Fairfield County School Board, which oversees the largest school district in the U.S., has ruled the books are appropriate and serve the needs of LGBTQ+ students in search of diverse reading material they can relate to.
Its decision was based on a review committee—made up of parents, students, and school officials—appointed to assess the books.
The committee unanimously recommended the books be returned to the school library.
The books contain such graphic material that when parent Stacy Langton began reading excerpts from them—during a public comment session at a Sept. 23 school board meeting—school board members interrupted her and told her the content wasn’t appropriate for public reading at the meeting because “there were children in the audience.”
At its Dec. 2 meeting, the Fairfax County School Board, got an earful of public comments on the issue from parents who spoke for, and against, the books.
Jane Miscavage, a school librarian and also a parent, thanked the committee for voting to return the books.
“I’m glad that the committee’s found what I did, that these books have the potential to reach marginalized students, who may not otherwise see themselves in FCPS’s three million book collection,” she said.