After two hours of public comment, Nixa’s school board voted Thursday night to ban two books from their high school shelves and restrict another.
At their regular meeting, the board was given the task of deciding the fate of three out of sixteen books that had been challenged by parents. Of these, queer memoirs “Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic” and “All Boys Aren’t Blue: A Memoir-Manifesto” were banned.
A third book, “Homegoing” was restricted – meaning it will be given to a student with parental permission, but will not be placed on high school shelves.
“Fun Home” is the award-winning graphic memoir about Alison Bechdel – which tells the story of her childhood as a lesbian and the strained relationship with her gay and close father.
Parent Carissa Corson requested that the book be removed because of its graphic sexual content.
“Completely inappropriate for minors! Your online catalog even says” includes adult content. “This book contains pornography.”
According to Corson, the alleged pornography includes full-frontal male genitals, oral sex scenes, pedophilia, nursing and topless women.
Corson also filed a complaint against “All Boys Aren’t Blue,” which is George M. Johnson’s memoir – which tells the story of his childhood as a black and queer boy.
According to Corson, the book contains “graphic” oral and anal sex, and “all copies should be removed.”
“Homegoing” portrays a series of vignettes of many generations of one family brought to America in the Atlantic slave trade.
Of the 16 books, seven have been restricted – including “Homecoming” – two have been banned and seven have not yet been convicted.
Before voting, school board members stressed the importance of courtesy and hearing debates from both sides – several commented on the difficulty of their decision.
There were two hours of testimony from parents, community members and students. The night often went out in buh, cheers and standing ovations.
In the front rows sat more than a dozen Nixa high school students who came to speak out against the bans.
“Students are more mature than anything else, and most have the ability to deal with complex themes or topics presented in these books. Slavery, racism, and other topics are examples of mature topics that students learn in elementary and middle school. When students Once in high school, they can navigate these topics on their own without the guidance of a teacher or parent, “said Nixa Junior Justice Jones.
Jones added that parents currently have the right to prevent their children from checking the challenged books from the school library.
“While these books may not be appropriate for all students, it is unfair to limit the choice for each student. Whether a student should read a particular book or not is solely between them and their parents,” Jones said.
The students collected 316 signatures from their classmates who asked to have the books stay at the library.
“These signatures represent students of all grades, genders, ethnicities who believe they will benefit from access to these books at the library without restrictions,” Jones said.
Many of the parents at the meeting argued that all the books should be removed from the shelves – and called them pornographic.
“Excerpts from these books are so violent and explicit that it would defeat the purpose of our mission to read them aloud to minors,” Corson said.
Along with many other speakers at the meeting, Corson Nixa urged the high school librarian to step down to let these books enter the school.
“If (the school board) voted to keep these books on the shelf, you belong in a national registry. I would like to urge the Nixa High School librarian to resign,” Corson said to cheers and roars from the respective sides. .
“They have abused their authority to expose our children to pornographic books, and instead of apologizing, they double down and put their stamp of approval on them. They also belong in a national registry.”
Later in the meeting, Nixa high school students who were present announced support for their librarian – and said they would stand in solidarity with them if fired.
When another speaker urged the librarian to resign, a student bubbled loudly and interrupted the speaker. Before the board could convene the meeting again, another person shouted at the booing student, “oh shut up!”