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Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Parents, students sound off about LGBTQ memoir in Flagler County school libraries

Posted By on Wed, Nov 17, 2021 at 12:19 PM

  • Screenshot of 'All Boys Aren't Blue' cover

Flagler County parents and students spoke out on the controversy around a book in school's upper-level libraries during a school board meeting on Wednesday.

Both sides were well-represented, with people against the distribution of George M. Johnson's All Boys Aren't Blue: A Memoir-Manifesto meeting an anti-censorship protest by students outside the meeting. The book came to the attention of residents after School Board Member Jill Woolbright called the police to report the book's presence in one middle school and two high school libraries.

"Even if these books were unlawful, does their presence in the library rise to the level of calling the sheriff?" asked book supporter Sue Oleare, according to WESH. "Are the words in these texts equivalent to loaded weapons pointed at our heads?”

Oleare was countered by people who felt Woolbright's move was appropriate.

"The book violates the law. It doesn't belong there and the people responsible for putting it here should at least be reprimanded and probably arrested,” said Bob Pathright.

The author also called into the meeting and continued his defense of the book for young adults. The memoir deals with stories of sexual assault and other explicit content in service of telling the author's story of growing up Black and queer.

"My book is not what is doing your child harm — it is you who will do your child harm by not allowing them to one: learn that other people exist in this world who have a different lived experience than them and, two: not allowing them to have the language or this particular resource to deal with the problems that will come to them in this world when they arise," Johnson said of the controversy initially.

The board said they are waiting for law enforcement to finish investigating before making a decision on the book.

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