Newtown school board considers banning 2 books with LGBTQ themes from high school library

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Wednesday, May 31, 2023
Newtown school board considers banning books from high school library
The Newtown Board of Education is considering whether to remove "Flamer" by Mike Curato and "Blankets" by Craig Thompson from the library.

NEWTOWN, Connecticut (WABC) -- The fight over literature has made its way to Connecticut as the Newtown Board of Education is voting this week on whether to remove two books from the town's high school library.

A crowd gathered outside the city's town hall building on Wednesday to protest as many parents want to stop the plan in its tracks.

The novels in question are "Flamer" by Mike Curato and "Blankets" by Craig Thompson. Both are graphic novels that deal with coming-of-age issues including gender identity and sexuality.

Debate has been fierce at recent Board of Education meetings with many parents pointing out the books' importance for LGBTQ youth.

Dan Grossman said he never planned on being an activist, but he found himself there this week leading a protest of the proposal that would ban the two books.

"When the worst regimes that we've ever seen could have banned things, they don't start with guns or weapons or things like that, they start with books and they start with knowledge," Grossman said.

Students were also at the protest to make their voices heard.

"Even if these books in any way had some sort of harm to cause people, the consequences of removing them are far greater that the consequences of keeping them," said Newtown High School student Ali Powers.

However, some parents object to the explicit material.

"I think some of these things are obscene and disgusting and pornographic and should not be available to minor children," one parent said during a board meeting.

Some board members have proposed requiring parental consent before the books could be borrowed.

The irony is "Flamer" has never been checked out of the high school library and "Blankets" was only once -- nearly 10 years ago.

The head of the Connecticut Library Association said 38 similar challenges have popped up in other Connecticut towns as well.

"I thought well that will never happen in Newtown, there are bigger things to worry about, people are very concerned with the welfare of children, they are not going to be blinded by arguments that are silly or meaningless, and yet here we are in Newtown," Douglas Lord said.

Support for the ban had fallen along party lines, but on Wednesday afternoon, two Republican members of the board resigned their positions, throwing Thursday's scheduled vote into question.

RELATED | Legislation in New Jersey would prohibit libraries, public schools from banning books

New legislation in New Jersey would prohibit libraries and public schools from banning or restricting access to certain books. Toni Yates has the story.


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