A South Carolina father gave his school board a bag of chicken feed to demonstrate his lack of confidence in their “chicken” leadership.
At a Beaufort County School District (BCSD) meeting on June 27, David Cook, a father of two, asked the board to remove sexually explicit books from school libraries, citing the “negative impact of pornography on children.”
“I’ve appealed to you all repeatedly, and only a few of you have recognized we do not need to keep sexually explicit books in our schools,” Cook said during his public comment.
He explained that Chilean citizens living under their socialist regime used to throw chicken feed at their leaders’ doorsteps to accuse them of being “too chicken and too afraid to take action.”
Cook then presented the school board with his own token of no confidence.
“There’s your chicken feed. I give you this gift as a way to demonstrate mine and many others’ opinion of your lack of action,” he concluded. “As a matter of fact, your behavior gives chicken a bad name.”
Cook told The Lion the issue of inappropriate books first came to his attention in November of 2021, but that the school board has done little to address it.
Local parents compiled a list of nearly 100 books they deemed inappropriate. However, they say the BCSD school board has instead behaved as if parents are the enemy.
According to Cook, the board scheduled an emergency meeting after his comments on June 27 in which their goal “was to prohibit me from speaking for six months if I broke their public comment policy. However, in typical fashion, [there were] no direct responses to me from them regarding my comments that night or any other night.”
Ivie Szalai, who argued Cook’s actions were reasonable and respectful, turned the tables and accused the board members of condoning harassment against concerned parents.
“For those board members who feared what Mr. Cook did, what about the continued harassment from some of the board members of Families Against Book Bans?” asked Szalai. “Truly, some of their behavior scares me, such as calling me a Nazi and nicknaming me ‘hausfrau.’”
Families Against Book Bans (FABB) launched in January 2023 with the sole purpose of opposing Beaufort parents who wanted to remove pornographic books from schools.
She also the husband of FABB’s board’s chair of “doxxing” her – sharing private information publicly with malicious intent – by posting her home address online.
“Those of you who keep voting to put the books back on the shelves are aligning yourselves with the people doing the harassment,” Szalai concluded.
Isabella Cook, a BCSD student, accused multiple teachers of abusive behavior, including arbitrarily introducing the topic of circumcision.
“The repeated behavior of the district hiding groomers continues. I am tired of being indoctrinated by these teachers who think pornographic and sexually explicit material in schools is OK,” Isabella said. “It is not OK. I, along with many others, am done with all this nonsense being shoved down our throats.”
Susana Cook, David’s wife, also spoke in favor of removing sexually explicit books.
“That garbage does not need be in front of the eyes of innocent children,” she said. “They are ours, not yours. And above all, they are the children of God.”
The mother also referenced Sound of Freedom, a revolutionary new film about child sex trafficking and pornography.
The Supreme Court has long held that obscenity – such as pornography – is not protected under the First Amendment and that it is illegal to provide minors with obscene materials.
David Cook spoke again, accusing the board of doing more to increase security at board meetings in two weeks than they ever did to remove inappropriate books.
“Now I’m going to fight harder for my kids,” he told the board. “I’m not going to sit back and watch children in our school district be exploited. Keeping explicit materials does nothing. No one in this room can prove to me these explicit books improve reading proficiency at any level.”
South Carolina is currently ranked among the bottom 20% for education, and BCSD is no exception. Proficiency in English language arts is a mere 48.7% and mathematics is 41.6%. And according to the SC School Report Card, only 34% of its high school graduates are ready for college.
To make matters worse, BCSD has even allowed a film crew to document students resisting the so-called book ban, Cook told The Lion.
“It is harmful to the students and community because it gives the kids a false sense of righteousness spurred on by adults,” Cook said. “The students are making false claims, calling us ‘Nazis’ and ‘book banners.’ Bringing in a media outlet or production company doesn’t benefit anyone.”
“There are more parents against the books being in schools than in support of them,” he added.
Cook concluded his public comment at the most recent meeting by announcing that his family would soon be purchasing new chickens and would be naming them after the school board members.