Emergency school board meeting held in Ohio over 'It's OK to Be a Unicorn' children's book

Emergency school board meeting held in Ohio over 'It's OK to Be a Unicorn' children's book
"It's OK to Be a Unicorn" (screengrab/WSYX ABC 6 News).

One parent’s complaint that a children’s book author was going to read to students led to an Ohio school board holding an emergency meeting Friday night after an interim district superintendent blocked Jason Tharp from reading “It’s OK to Be a Unicorn!”

WBNS reports that last Wednesday the unnamed parent approached interim superintendent Jeremy Froehlich with concerns about the book. “They just wanted to make sure that we vetted the book and our staff thought that they had vetted it,” Froehlich said – which does not explain why the book was blocked.

The school principal told Tharp he could visit the school but not read from the book.

Friday’s emergency school board meeting included several dozen parents, all of whom supported reading from the book and opposed the book being effectively banned from being read to children.

“I was simply confused and people were taking stuff down and…they said we had to take anything down with unicorns and rainbows,” Kaylan Brazelton, mother of two who works at Buckeye Valley West told WBNS Friday evening.

WSYX says “It’s OK to Be a Unicorn!” is “a book about learning to be yourself and loving who you are.” But the TV station reports the book was “given the boot…because some thought it could be promoting a gay lifestyle.”

(There is no such thing as a “gay lifestyle.”)

Tharp says the book is not about being LGBTQ. He told WSYX, “I was using my story of struggling because I grew up as an adult and I didn’t like myself and it took a brain tumor for me to realize I was being a horrible human to myself because I was internalizing so much of this stuff.”

WBNS also reports that “Tharp is a straight, married man who says he is most certainly not trying to push an LGBTQ agenda.” It’s unclear why that would be an issue or what Tharp’s sexual orientation and marital status have to do with the book.

“I’m not here to entertain adults that want to project their own whatever issues onto a children’s book, I’m here to create books that inspire kids to dream big, embrace themselves, understand the importance of self-kindness, to really learn how to manage your emotions because it’s a confusing world we live in, and being a human is not easy,” Tharp told WBNS. “If an adult is struggling, that’s what therapy’s for, not my kids’ books, and I hope that maybe even my kids’ books might inspire some adults, but they’re meant for the child to figure themselves out, just be a tool, that’s it.”

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