NJ school librarian defamed by parents over LGBTQ books, lawsuit says

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Thursday, April 27, 2023
NJ high school librarian defamed over LGBTQ books, lawsuit claims
Roxbury High School librarian Roxana Caivano has been under attack online by parents about selecting sex education and gender identity books geared towards the LGBTQ community.

ROXBURY, New Jersey (WABC) -- A librarian at a New Jersey high school is fighting back against a group of residents for what she calls "really disgusting attacks" against her character.

The root of this dispute is over books geared toward the LGBTQ community.

Roxana Caivano, librarian at Roxbury High School, selected the books in question and the Roxbury Board of Education approved them. However, just before school started, Caivano said she came under attack online by a group of parents.

"They called me a pornographer, and said look what's happening in Roxbury High School," Caivano recalled to Eyewitness News.

One of the books in question is called "Gender Queer." The parents objected to what they call pornographic images in the book.

The verbal attacks on Caivano continued during board meetings and she claims it even got personal.

According to Caivano, comments included that "I should be fired" along with being called "a pornographer."

Roxana has filed a civil lawsuit against the parents claiming defamation and libel.

Her husband, Anthony Caivano, is handling her case.

"It affects someone's reputation," he said, before adding, "And that's something that once it's taken, it's very difficult to get back."

On the other end, the lawyer for the parents, Corinne Mullen, feels this is a case of free speech and parental rights to determine what the high school kids can read.

"The librarian's suit against the parents really, and ironically, attacks the First Amendment rights of the parents to have a voice," Mullen shared.

Attorney Mullen also added that the case is one that should be debated in an open forum and not in a courtroom.

"That's a debate that should take place at the Board of Education meetings," said Mullen. "And that's a debate that should be robust."

The Board of Education normally has a process to remove the books from the school library, and the librarian adds that the books at the center of the dispute were already vetted and can be found in high school libraries across the country.


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