According to an exclusive and detailed story by Laurie Higgins of the Illinois Family Institute, middle school teachers Brian Wiewiaro and John Ferguson alerted Community United School District 200 that the sexually graphic book “Gender Queer: a Memoir” was sitting on a library bookshelf. After the two teachers filed a formal “Request for Reconsideration” for the book to be removed, a 10-person committee formed to evaluate their request.
The committee voted, however, to keep the book.
Higgins tells AFN the teachers presented a “very good presentation” that stressed the teachers were alarmed by the graphic content and insisted they were not opposing a library book because of LGBTQ themes that some might find objectionable.
“This is not the beginning of some crusade,” one of the teachers insisted, “to empty our libraries.”
The two teachers told the committee, however, that school district policy prohibits a student from possessing any materials that are considered obscene, pornographic, lewd, or vulgar.
To suggest “Gender Queer” meets just one of those similar definitions is to say water is wet. AFN has reported “Gender Queer” shows sexually explicit scenes, written in a comic book format, in which author Mai Kobaba tells her story of sexual exploration from childhood through adolescence. Beyond just the explicit images, which depict oral sex in one scene, reading the book aloud in front of a public school board got a mother in trouble in Colorado and got a father kicked out of the meeting in Florida.
And that is why Higgins, who followed the controversy for most of this year, ripped the Wheaton, Illinois school district in her 1,800-word article. The article explains the concerns of the two teachers, quotes and names the school board members who ignored them, and lists the names of the 10 committee members, too.
In one example, Higgins says school board member Susan Booton defended keeping the graphic book because “the LGBTQ community struggles with suicide and harm to self at a much higher rate than our cisgender peers.”
As if removing an obscene book from the high school library will increase suicides, Higgins points out.
Higgins recounts how school board member David Long defended the book because its sexually explicit scenes – ones so lurid they can’t be recounted by AFN – are briefly depicted in the book. The school board president, Chris Crabtree, said keeping the book shows the school district “cares about kids,” Higgins also recounted.
“They lost what should have been a slam-dunk win on their part,” she says of the two teachers, “because any rational persons would say this is not appropriate for a high school public library."
One clue to understanding the school board is the 2020 presidential election: DuPage County voted for Joe Biden over Donald Trump 57%-39%.