Virginia rep intends to sue to stop store from selling explicit books to minors

(The Center Square) – A Virginia lawmaker is heading to the courts to prevent Barnes & Noble from selling the controversial books “Gender Queer” and “Court of Mist and Fury” to minors and stop Virginia Beach City Public Schools from providing the book to minors without parental consent.

Del. Tim Anderson, R-Virginia Beach, who is also a lawyer, intends to petition the court for a restraining order against Barnes & Noble and Virginia Beach City Public Schools that would prevent them from giving the books to minors without a parent’s approval. The announcement comes after the Virginia Beach circuit court found cause that the books might be too obscene for unrestricted viewing by minors.

“We are in a major fight,” Anderson said in a statement. “Suits like this can be filed all over Virginia. There are dozens of books. Hundreds of schools.”

The books are two of several other books that have caused controversy in the Virginia public education system. Some conservative lawmakers and parent groups have alleged that some schools are providing the books to children and have alleged that they contain obscene sexual content.

Virginia Beach City Public Schools provided a statement to The Center Square, which states its lawyers will address how the law applies to these books being used in the public school system.

“The School Board and the School Division are not parties to the Petition For Declarations for Adjudication of Obscenity Pursuant to 18.2-384 of the Code of Virginia,” the statement read. “After consultation with the School Board, the School Board’s legal counsel will address with the Court the applicability of this law to the School Board and the School Division.”

Barnes & Noble provided a statement to The Center Square in which the company asked customers to respect that they carry a broad range of material and diversity of opinion.

“As booksellers, we carry thousands of books whose subject matter some may find offensive,” the statement read. “We live in a diverse society, and that diversity of opinion is reflected in the books we carry on our shelves that cater to the wide range of interests of our customers. We ask that our customers respect our responsibility to offer this breadth of reading materials, and respect also that, while they chose not to purchase many of these themselves, they may be of interest to others.”

Gov. Glenn Youngkin signed legislation that requires schools to notify parents of sexually explicit content in coursework and allow students to opt their children out of using any material that contains anything sexually explicit. Those students would be given alternative assignments.