Florida school board member faces criticism after filing a criminal complaint over LGBTQ book

Florida school board member faces criticism after filing a criminal complaint over LGBTQ book
David Badash
Indiana school board deems LGBTQ pride flag ‘controversial’ after one parent voices concern

All around the United States, far-right MAGA Republicans have been declaring war on the teaching of "critical race theory" in public schools — even though CRT, a field of anti-racist academic study, is only being taught on some college campuses. This right-wing campaign against public school teachers and books can cross over into LGBTQ subjects. In Florida, for example, culture warrior Jill Woolbright, a member of the Flagler County School Board, has filed a criminal complaint with her country's sheriff's office over the presence of a book by New Jersey-based gay author George M. Johnson.

The book is "All Boys Aren't Blue: A Memoir-Manifesto," which has been available in some high schools and middle schools in Florida. The book deals with growing up Black and gay, and Woolbright wants it removed.

Woolbright told WESH-TV Channel 2 (the NBC affiliate in Orlando), "I don't have a problem with the book; I do have a problem with where the book has been placed. Some child could be disturbed to read a book that they're not ready for."

In the police report that she filed, the Flagler County School Board member complained, "Chapter 11 discusses in detail, and (is) very descriptive, about masturbation and oral sex. Chapter 15, 'Losing My Virginity Twice,' is also very descriptive and discusses masturbation, oral sex and sodomy."

READ: 'Biden delivered': Devastating Lincoln Project ad mocks 'so-called builder' Trump on 'infrastructure week'

In the public schools of the Netherlands, Belgium, Norway or Spain, a book like "All Boys Aren't Blue: A Memoir-Manifesto" wouldn't even be controversial. School officials in those West European countries, even those who identify as conservative or politically right-of-center, tend to believe that teenagers are less likely to have sexual problems — from STIs to unplanned pregnancies — if they have easier access to sexual information and sex is discussed openly and candidly. Sex education in West European countries, as a rule, is more explicit than it is in the U.S. and operates from a knowledge-is-power standpoint.

Johnson, in fact, doesn't see why his book has become controversial in Florida.

WESH quotes Johnson as saying, "My book is not what is doing your child harm — it is you who will do your child harm by not allowing them to: (1) learn that other people exist in this world who have a different lived experience than them, and (2) not allowing them to have the language or this particular resource to deal with the problems that will come to them in this world when they arise."

Some of the backlash Woolbright is facing is coming from Cheryl Massaro, a fellow member of the Flagler County School Board. Massaro is calling Woolbright out and stressing that she doesn't speak for everyone on the Board.

READ: This line from the Rittenhouse defense team's closing completely horrified viewers

On her Facebook page, Massaro wrote, "I can no longer remain silent and allow a rogue school board member to destroy the hard work of our current and prior board members…. While I firmly believe that Ms. Woolbright is entitled to freely voice her opinion on district issues, I also believe she crossed the line when she filed a criminal complaint against the Flagler Schools' Superintendent and Attorney with the Flagler County Sheriff's Office for permitting books that she believes to be pornographic to be available to middle and high school students. By failing to allow for the investigative process to unfold, she bypassed established District policies and procedures."

#story_page_post_article

Understand the importance of honest news ?

So do we.

The past year has been the most arduous of our lives. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to be catastrophic not only to our health - mental and physical - but also to the stability of millions of people. For all of us independent news organizations, it’s no exception.

We’ve covered everything thrown at us this past year and will continue to do so with your support. We’ve always understood the importance of calling out corruption, regardless of political affiliation.

We need your support in this difficult time. Every reader contribution, no matter the amount, makes a difference in allowing our newsroom to bring you the stories that matter, at a time when being informed is more important than ever. Invest with us.

Make a one-time contribution to Alternet All Access, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.

Click to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card
Donate by Paypal
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}

Happy Holidays!