(Daily Caller) – A group of Maine parents called Monday for a school district to remove 82 books containing sexually explicit content they found in school libraries, the parents told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Led by Regina Leonard, a coalition of parents within Hermon School District created a database of 82 sexually explicit books, including “Tricks,” a story about five teenagers who get involved in prostitution, and “Red, White and Royal Blue,” a story about a young prince who falls in love with the president’s son, they say are found in school district libraries, Leonard told the DCNF. The parents unveiled the full database and a book review policy they drafted to the school board on Monday.
“I created a Facebook page called ‘Concerned Citizens of Herman’ and we have over 200 people out right now,” Leonard told the DCNF. “It’s a solid 20 to 25 of us, it’s like a full time job. We all have our piece. We’ve got the people that are researching, we started reading policy. We’ve had to FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request to get information that we shouldn’t have to FOIA request and then now researching this book list, that’s the last thing and that is an intense job.”
The parents created a policy on sexually explicit content in schools and asked the school board to consider implementing the policy which they have previously denied, Leonard told the DCNF. No “visual or visually implied depictions of sexual acts or simulations of such acts” and “explicit or implied written descriptions of sexual acts” should appear in elementary, middle school or high school libraries, according to the draft policy obtained by the DCNF.
The board voted against the book policy 5-1 on Monday while Superintendent Micah Grant suggested books within the district be filtered on the school website by sexual, violence and drug use content “to improve the opt-out process,” according to ABC 8.
To rate the sexually explicit books found in the district, the parents used “BookLooks,” a book review system created by parents that weighs the level of appropriateness on a five-point scale with one being the least explicit and five being the most, Leonard told the DCNF.
Of the 82 sexually explicit books found in the school district, 32 books were rated a four on the scale because they featured “depictions of sexual organs in a state of sexual arousal” or contained “anal, oral or vaginal intercourse,” according to the database created by the parents.
Approximately 48 books were rated a three out of five for containing references to sexual activities, excessive and explicit violence and excessive profanity while two were given a five rating, the database said.
“Removing access is censorship,” a Hermon resident said at the Monday board meeting, according to ABC 8. “These books are not dangerous. Removing them may make you feel better, you think your children are now safe from these ‘ideas.’”
“Sold,” a book about a girl from India who is sold into slavery, is rated a five out of five for its “explicit aberrant sexual activities including rape of a minor, prostitution and explicit violence,” the database showed. “Red, White And Royal Blue” is rated a four out of five because it features “excessive profanity, obscene sexual activities, sexual nudity and alcohol and drug use.”
“After multiple community members expressed concerns about books with sexually explicit content being in our public high school library, a group of us decided to research if such books existed within our school walls,” Danielle Haggerty, a Hermon parent, told the DCNF. “We used BookLooks.org to identify books known to have varying degrees of sexual content. We searched our district’s online library catalog and identified more than 80 books with sexual content. We were shocked to uncover, 34 books had references to erotic, obscene or aberrant sexual activities. If these same books were handed out across the street to minors we could be arrested.”
Hermon School Board and school district did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.