Education

South Dakota Parents Torch School Board Over ‘Pornographic,’ ‘Marxist’ 12th-Grade English Novels

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Kendall Tietz Education Reporter
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  • South Dakota parents slammed their local school board Tuesday over novels they deemed “pornographic,” “Marxist propaganda,” Fox News reported Friday.
  • “It is Marxist propaganda,” Florence Thomas, the president of South Dakota Parents Involved in Education, said during public comment. “It is designed to divide the kids from their parents, divide the kids from their country, divide the kids from their culture and even in many cases, divide them from their very selves.”
  • “The professional judgment of the staff on district committees is trusted by the Board to be in the best interest of the greatest number of students and age appropriate, hence the course and books were approved last year,” Rapid City Area Schools told the Daily Caller News Foundation in a statement. “We are saddened to have this trust diminished by the decision to include these books in the recommended material.”

South Dakota parents and community members slammed their local school board Tuesday over novels they deemed “pornographic,” “Marxist propaganda,” Fox News reported Friday.

Public comments at the Rapid City Area Schools’ (RCAS) board meeting chastised the school district over its proposed 12th-grade English reading curriculum, which has since been struck down after school administrators decided the titles were inappropriate, Fox reported. (RELATED: Dems’ School Closures Were An Absolute Disaster For Poor And Minority Students, Study Shows)

Local resident Kate Linden described the pictures in the graphic novel “Fun Home” by Alison Bechdel as “clearly pornographic,” Fox reported. She said it depicts “two women performing oral sex” and shows “images of masturbation and drug usage.”

“There is a difference between teaching what sex is and teaching how to engage in it,” she said, according to Fox. “And that’s what’s happening in this book.”

She said she fully supported the removal of any books that describe sex acts or sexual situations and called for an investigation into whoever proposed the books, so they can be held accountable, Fox reported.

RCAS told the Daily Caller News Foundation in a statement that it is “concerning that staff would recommend this material for a reading class,” which “likely violated Codified Law 22-24-27 and would be deemed ‘Harmful to Minors.'”

The twelve books for the 12th grade English class were selected and approved by a committee of seven English teachers from three high schools, according to the statement from RCAS Community Relations Manager Caitlin Pierson. Five of the twelve books were pulled from the list because of “inappropriate, explicit sexual content.”

“The professional judgment of the staff on district committees is trusted by the Board to be in the best interest of the greatest number of students and age appropriate, hence the course and books were approved last year,” the statement said. “We are saddened to have this trust diminished by the decision to include these books in the recommended material.”

Florence Thomas, the president of South Dakota Parents Involved in Education, said the books are part of “the Marxist global revolution … the Cultural Revolution,” happening all across the country and the world.

“It is Marxist propaganda,” she said. “It is designed to divide the kids from their parents, divide the kids from their country, divide the kids from their culture and even in many cases, divide them from their very selves.”

Anti-vaccine mandate protesters gather during a Portland Public Schools board meeting to discuss a proposed vaccine mandate for students on October 26, 2021 in Portland, Oregon. The board moved the meeting to discuss a proposed vaccine mandate for students 12-years-old and up online after a group of anti-mandate protesters gathered before the meeting. (Photo by Nathan Howard/Getty Images)

Anti-vaccine mandate protesters gather during a Portland Public Schools board meeting to discuss a proposed vaccine mandate for students on October 26, 2021 in Portland, Oregon. (Photo by Nathan Howard/Getty Images)

She emphasized the danger behind the “Marxist propaganda” and urged attendees to look at the issue with a broad perspective because it isn’t just happening in their district, but “all over.”

“Our education system has been taken over, to a large extent, from the federal level and so we’re getting these books and we need to start saying no at the local level,” she said. “They’re made to be racially divisive. They’re made to divide people against themselves, against their parents, against their churches.”

Another woman said “destroying [the] innocence” of students “is something that’s not recoverable.”

“The parents of children who come to the public schools, put their trust in the public schools not to undo what they try to inculcate into their children,” she added. “I would suggest that there is other literature that would accomplish the same lessons.”

RCAS said it would be considered pornography if a student had “explicit pictures from one of the books” on their computer, which would make them subject to disciplinary action.

“We have the district attorneys investigating the content of these books to determine if in fact they can be destroyed or sold to book buyers,” the statement said.

The district is also conducting an investigation into how the books were selected, vetted and approved to analyze “where oversight is missing.” The school board will also be creating a “Professional Judgement” policy to assess how books are chosen.

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