WAYNE – A single copy of a best-selling graphic novel, repeatedly called “porn” by some angry township parents, has dominated a considerable portion of recent education board meetings.
On Thursday, “Gender Queer” was repeatedly referenced, along with six other book titles that were the subject of an official complaint from three parents that night.
All selections were considered LGBTQ in their subject matter, as they focus on gender identity issues.
According to school officials, “Gender Queer” topped the list of official book complaints filed.
Despite months of continuous referral at public meetings, there had been only three complaints filed on Thursday.
The only copy of the district book, written by a non-binary author, is available at Wayne Hills High School.
Superintendent Mark Toback said the books would remain in place, pending a formal assessment of each complaint by a committee.
“The book is pornographic and inappropriate on the shelves of our school library”,
“Books on library shelves are not taught in classrooms. They are in a place where they can be searched for by those in need, ”said parent and Wayne alumnus Jacob Van Lunen during the public comment portion.
“When some children in a community think that an attack on a book is an attack on who they are as a person, I think we should listen to them. “
“Everyone here wants the best for children,” he added.
“The book is pornographic and inappropriate on the shelves of our school library,” another township parent, Shayna Kiguelman, said of the graphic novel’s memoir. “I would feel the same if the book were pictures of heterosexual sex.”
“‘Gender Queer’, if you’ve done your research, is not of porn quality so please stop calling it porn. It is not porn. It has been taken to court.” Education Council member Stacey Scher said in her response after the evening’s public comments.
“It’s not my decision – it’s not my decision, it’s the US courts that say it’s not pornography,” Scher briefly interrupted by a screaming woman.
She added that the book (which is a bestseller on Amazon) has also remained available at the Wayne Public Library.
Another township resident, Brittany Coral, brought a selection of photocopied pages from the graphic novel to hand out.
She brought the documents to the podium with her, where she said the township teachers ‘union was attacking residents’ personal beliefs.
In June, at a previous board meeting, Coral said that “the classroom has turned into a propaganda playground,” as previously reported by NorthJersey.com.
Books under surveillance
Other titles aimed at young readers covered by the three complaints received last week were: “My Princess Boy”, “Sparkle Boy”, “When Kayla was Kyle”, “From the Stars in the Sky to the Fish in the Sea And “Introducing Teddy: A Sweet Story of Gender and Friendship.” “
” Who are you ? : Children’s Guide to Gender Identity “was another title challenged by a parent, along with” Gender Queer, “Toback confirmed at the meeting.
“LGBTQAI is not a theory, folks, it is a reality. So don’t get up here and call it a theory, ”Scher said at the same meeting on Thursday.
The author of “Gender Queer”, Maia Kobabe, uses the pronouns “ey / em / eirs”. These are considered neoprouns, sets developed from the 20th century (or sometimes the 19th century) to the present day.
“LGBTQAI is not a theory, folks, it is a reality. So don’t come up here and call it a theory.
The book has been banned in at least one school district in Florida and has also been challenged in schools in Ohio, Texas and Washington DC, according to Kobabe in an October opinion piece for the Washington Post.
An Illinois school board that recently heard challenges to the book saw members of a local Proud Boys chapter at its meeting, as reported by the Chicago Sun-Times.
Kobabe said when asked at what age to read the book is recommended: “I would usually answer in high school and above, but the truth is that the readers I mainly wrote it for were my own parents and my extended family. When I first came out as a non-binary, I kept getting responses like, “We love you, we support you, but we have no idea what you are doing. speak. “
Transgender refers to people who do not fully identify with the sex assigned to them at birth. The term is not indicative of sexual orientation, such as gay or straight or bisexual.
Not all non-binary people identify as trans, and not all trans people identify as non-binary, according to Trans Student Educational Resources.
“I haven’t heard any concerns about the data just reported – 30% of eighth graders are proficient.”
Unfinished, interrupted learning
During the same meeting Thursday, Wayne’s Deputy Superintendent of Schools Donna Reichman outlined the district’s ongoing plans for ‘unfinished learning’ as the COVID-19 pandemic has caused ‘unprecedented disruption’ in education from March 2020.
“Mathematics results, nationwide, estimated that students are lagging behind… and subject mastery is only estimated at 50%,” Reichman said. “It was an unfortunate result of the pandemic, with students not having this direct instruction and not learning at home. “
She said the district was “very confident” in the plans it has put in place to deal with the learning loss.
“I haven’t heard any concerns about the data just reported – 30% of eighth graders are proficient – that’s it,” said Stana Vasilic, a native of Wayne Township now living in Woodland Park, at the public meeting on Thursday.
“Everyone wants to be heard, no one is listening.
Vasilic said she attended the session after hearing a lot about the recent heated board meetings, largely dominated by the issue of enrichment papers that highlight topics related to gender identity.
Public school board meetings across the country have recently been inundated with polarizing issues over curriculum issues, as districts grapple with nearly two years of lost learning amid the public health crisis.
“It’s got pretty hot here as always,” Education Council member Michael Bubba said Thursday. “Everyone wants to be heard, no one is listening.
The entire Wayne Township Board of Education Thursday meeting was posted on the district’s Youtube channel.
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