A meeting of the New Jersey board of education got heated on Tuesday after an anonymous group contacted by parents demanded that books with “offensive, vulgar and obscene images” be banned in the mail. school institute.
On April 21, an email signed by the Ramsey Parents Association group was sent, expressing outrage that the book Lawn boy by Jonathan Evison and Genderqueer: A Memoir by Maia Kobabe was in the Ramsey High School library, Patch.com reported. The group allegedly called on other parents to appear at the board meeting and share their grievances about the document.
But the move backfired, as the books received more support than the anonymous group of parents predicted.
Elaine Jones, whose daughter graduated from Ramsey School in 2013, was the first speaker to speak to the board in the public comment section of the meeting.
“As a former middle school literature teacher, I understand the need to teach topics that make students uncomfortable because everyone learns when pushed past their comfort zone,” she says.
Jones explained that as a teacher, she used one of her sixth grade books about the Black Baseball League. Before reading the book, she said that her students didn’t realize how serious discrimination was in the United States.
“Contrary to what some groups are currently saying,” Jones continued, “the purpose of the book is not to make today’s students feel guilty about the past. The purpose of this book is to make today’s students understand the past and how now we must all continue to move forward with equality. ”
Ellen O’Keefe, a parent and local librarian, was the first speaker to send an anonymous letter to the council.
“I know all too well how censorship and book bans can divide communities,” she said at the podium. “[Librarians] They deserve our support, they deserve our respect, and I believe they will have materials our children can read when appropriate. I’m extremely disappointed that someone sent a letter to the community and didn’t use that person’s real name because it’s really hard to call names, talk anonymously.”
Cindy Nicklin says she is grateful for the “so-called Ramsey Parent Union” for inviting parents to speak.
“I want my children to learn about people who are different from them. I want them to feel safe expressing themselves, whoever they are. I want them to learn from the past and work to create a better future for themselves and the people around them,” she said.
But not everyone is receptive to books that revolve around themes of race and sex. Some claim they just don’t want their kids to read about sex.
Parent Allison Nordman, who questioned the board’s spending on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion efforts as well as gender identity and if it affects enrollment, denied Lawn boy is “graphic, vulgar and obscene,” according to Patch.com.
However, most parents seem to favor the material being made available to students. Lawn boy is a coming-of-age memoir with the protagonist discovering not only her gender but also the social implications of race and ethnicity. Queer’s Gender refers to self-discovery and explores the protagonist’s journey to accepting himself as a non-binary person.
“I can’t believe — in the 21st century — that I have to stand here and speak out against banning books in our schools,” Christy Ross said after addressing the panel. “Books not only play an important role in teaching reading, writing and speaking skills, but also… teach students to think critically, connect them to shared experiences, teach compassion and empathize, and force them to examine their own preconceptions and instill a sense of gratitude for what they already have. ”
Before stepping down from the podium, Ross criticized those who had never even read the books they were condemning. She called the uproar “a manufactured outrage to create chaos.”
The Ramsey School District did not respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment on Friday.
https://www.thedailybeast.com/ramsey-new-jersey-parents-spooked-by-anonymous-email-from-wannabe-book-banners-ramsey-parent-union?source=articles&via=rss New Jersey Ramsey Parents Appalled by Anonymous Email from Wannabe Book Banner Ramsey Parents Coalition