‘Keep Your Dirty Books In The Closet’: School Removes Multiple Books Following Muslim Community Complaints

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Reagan Reese Contributor
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A Michigan school district is permanently removing some challenged books after pushback from the Muslim community, according to the Detroit News.

The Dearborn School Board announced Monday the school district will be removing two challenged books and keeping another, while continuing to review several others, according to the Detroit News. The meeting comes after it was postponed in October because many members of the Muslim community came to protest the presence of the books in the school district. (RELATED: Republicans Made Massive Gains With Muslims In The Midterms. Here’s Why)

Eleanor and Park,” a book about a romance between two teenagers that features profanity and domestic abuse, will be removed from all middle schools but be allowed in high schools, while “The Lovely Bones,” a book about the rape and murder of a young girl, will stay in the school district, the Detroit News reported. The book “Push,” is about a girl who deals with sexual abuse from her father, was removed completely from the school district as well as “Red, White and Royal Blue,” a book featuring several LGBTQ sexually explicit scenes.

All Boys Aren’t Blue,” a sexually explicit memoir about a queer black boy, and “This Book is Gay,” a sexually explicit queer memoir, are still under review by the district, the Detroit News stated. The books have never been in the school libraries but were made available through an ebook service that has since been discontinued.

The district reviewed the book “Flamer,” a sexually explicit story about a gay boy, and is expected to keep the book in the district, according to the Detroit News.

“We appreciate the parents who are working with us to address concerns about books in our school libraries,” Roxanne McDonald, Dearborn school board president, told the Detroit News. “Building a safe, welcoming environment in our district means accepting a very diverse group of students, helping all students learn to be good citizens and teaching them to understand and accept those who are different.

In October, members of the Muslim community pushed back against the presence of the sexually explicit books in the school district at a school board meeting. Protestors held up signs reading “Homosexuality Big Sin” and “Keep Your Dirty Books In The Closet.”

“The sexually explicit material in these books was just a catalyst that brought forward broader concerns about the state of public education today and where it’s at, and that the traditional partnership between parents and public education has been compromised,” Hassan Chami, a Muslim parent and political activist in Dearborn, Michigan, told the DCNF. “What you’re seeing now is a grassroots movement of concerned parents trying to reassert their right to direct education for their children.”

The Dearborn School Board and Dearborn Public Schools did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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