As Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) decided to remove the sexually explicit book, Gender Queer, from the district’s school library shelves, the neighboring school district in Fairfax County is standing by the controversial book.
The book, written by Maia Kobabe, has caused a raucous over the past year due to its sexually explicit illustrations of Kobabe’s journey to identifying as ‘non-binary’. These illustrations include sex acts, including what many critics describe as pedophilia.
As parents across the nation have learned of the book’s graphic content, many have asked their local school boards to remove it and others like it. In Loudoun County, Superintendent Scott Zeigler decided to remove the book after it was submitted for review, telling the Washington Post:
The pictorial depictions in this book ran counter to what is appropriate in school. …I read every book that is submitted for my review in its entirety.
Neighboring Fairfax County Public School District (FCPS) also took Gender Queer under review after numerous parents opposed it. It was pulled from the library for two months in late 2021 but was unanimously reinstated by a review committee in November.
The Fairfax district claimed that the book did not include pedophilia or obscene content, saying it was a “well-written, scientifically based narrative” with “literary value.”
After the book’s reinstatement, Stacy Langton, the same mother who originally confronted the school board, submitted an appeal. The FCPS superintendent, Scott Braband, promptly rejected her appeal, saying, “there were no errors in the review process.” Langton found this reply ‘dishonest’ of Superintendent Braband in light of how the Loudoun County superintendent rejected the book so matter-of-factly.
The contrast between the two districts’ responses is striking. “Loudoun County Public Schools has finally made a wise decision, listening to parents about the dangerous phenomenon of woke porn landing in the hands of children,” Asra Nomani, a Fairfax County mother and vice president at Parents Defending Education, said. “Other school systems, including Fairfax County, Virginia, should pay heed, instead of insisting on virtue signaling.”
As it is, parents in these districts are left wondering whether they can trust their school board leaders and school officials to fairly handle their concerns and ensure inappropriate content stays out of their children’s schools.