A school board in New York has reversed course on its decision to ban a number of books containing pornographic content from the school’s library following pressure from a local teacher’s union.
An Aug. 9 vote of the Clyde-Savannah Board of Education removed the books “All Boys Aren’t Blue,” “Red Hood,” “People Kill People,” “Jesus Land; A Memoir” and “It Ends With Us” from the school library, following a complaint from a local father in the district. “All Boys Aren’t Blue” contains graphic depictions of sexual acts, including masturbation and anal sex, while other titles depict underage characters having sex and detailed descriptions of sex between adults.
The board voted 6-2 on Wednesday to reverse their previous decision, allowing the books back into the library. Jacob Marchitell, a father who filed the initial complaint regarding the books, told the Daily Caller he was worried the reversal would determine how local school board decisions were handled in the future.
“It sets a precedent where now, if this stays and no one else fights back, if no one else pushes back, the teachers union run by the state now has the power to step into every single school board election and threaten them with lawsuit if they don’t vote in accordance with how the Union wants them to vote,” Marchitell said. (RELATED: Democrat Activist Waves A Folding Chair Over Attendees At Heated School Board Meeting, Witnesses Say)
In a September letter provided to the Caller, Robert Reilly, general counsel for New York State United Teachers demanded the school board reconsider its previous vote, calling the removal of the books “an arbitrary act of exclusion.”
“The office is prepared to commence an Appeal to the Commissioner of Education to vindicate the intellectual freedom rights of the District’s students and the academic freedom rights of the District’s professional educators,” the letter reads.
Reilly referenced the New York Department of Education’s guidance for diversity, equity, and inclusion, which was released on Aug. 9. An example of violating this policy would be, according to the guidance, “banning books that highlight the diverse histories and perspectives of Black people.”
Reilly wrote the letter on behalf of a school librarian and a parent in the district who is also a teacher of technology at the school.
‼️Coming up at a 11‼️Things got heated at the school board meeting at Clyde Savannah Central School District. Hundreds packed the gym to hear the boards vote on whether to keep certain books off the library shelves or place them back on the shelves. @news10nbc pic.twitter.com/iGBMOBYGDa
— Marsha Augustin (@MarshaA_TV) September 14, 2023
“They’re voting under duress,” Marchitell told the Caller. “They’ve been threatened with a lawsuit. So they’re changing their vote. I don’t see how that’s valid.”
Superintendent Mike Hayden told News 10 that the letter sent on behalf of the librarian and teacher “is not a lawsuit, and the employees are not suing the district.”
Jennifer Williams, chair of the Wayne County chapter of Moms for Liberty, echoed concerns about the school board’s decision to cave under pressure.
“We’re just concerned that this kind of precedent is set, because we do have parents challenging books across the state,” Williams told the Caller. “Because nothing happens in a bubble, especially in education. And so that decision will have been communicated across the state.”
“I feel optimistic,” Marchitell said. “I mean, if anything, the line that separates them from people who care about children and who care about the freedom of individual voters, that line is all the more defined now.”
New York State United Teachers did not respond to the Daily Caller’s request for comment.