Dearborn Public Schools said the removal is temporary as it reviews the books that children can access at school libraries. One mother was shocked by some of the books’ contents after she told her daughter to check out a book titled “Flamer” and found that it depicts sexually explicit acts between boys, ABC 7 News reported.
“If these were just LGBT romance novels that is completely appropriate,” Stephanie Butler said. “Where I draw the line is teaching them how to actually do the act.”
“You know when you put something into a kid’s mind, it makes them want to do it more or try it,” Butler commented.
The Dearborn School District said it would also restrict students’ access to books available through an e-book app and platform. In the meantime, the district will begin reviewing over 100,000 titles in a process that could take a year. Parents can further provide feedback or share concerns about specific books in school libraries through a form available until Friday.
Another book that upset parents is titled “This Book is Gay.” The bestselling book’s description says it’s “for anyone who’s ever dared to wonder.”
“This candid, funny, and uncensored exploration of sexuality and what it’s like to grow up LGBTQ also includes real stories from people across the gender and sexual spectrums, not to mention hilarious illustrations,” the description adds.
“This Book is Gay” also instructs readers on how to join dating apps and talk with Christians and Muslims about sexuality. Dearborn is home to the largest concentration of Muslims per capita in the U.S.
Butler is especially concerned with the book’s focus on dating apps. “I knew I had to take action before somebody got hurt,” she said. “I am worried if they do meet somebody (through the apps), they could get rape, kidnapped or trafficked.”
The Michigan mother also took her complaint beyond the school district, reporting “This Book is Gay” to local police, according to ABC 7 News. The Dearborn Police Department told the outlet they are investigating Butler’s concerns.
Some Dearborn citizens were worried that the district’s decision crossed the line into government censorship. “No one has a right to censor someone else except a parent for their child,” a person said at a public forum. “As public officials, it is your duty to try to maintain as wide of access to information as possible.”
The school district’s communications chief David Mustonen assured community members that the district was not “banning books,” but rather “evaluating” them.