Posted 74 days ago
Parents in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn extended their complaints about sexually explicit content in the district's school libraries at a Monday board meeting where a local mother read concerning passages about masturbation from a coming-of-age, semi-autobiographical Mike Curato graphic novel called "Flamer."
"We know our rights as parents, and we know that, right now, our rights are being infringed upon," the mother said to the board.
She pushed back against a claim that the book should go back on the shelf in Dearborn schools, stating her refusal to return it and saying she would pay the library fine in consequence.
"You can reorder it or whatever you're going to do," she told board members.
The passage mentioned the protagonist Elias in a room with male friends who are masturbating.
"We're each busting a load in this bottle. If you don't cum, you have to drink it," she read aloud.
"I learned about masturbation two years ago, kind of by accident. No one ever told me what it was," the book continued, diving into a segment in which the protagonist remembers the time he discovered a pornographic film his father had hidden in the house.
The book also makes explicit references to genitals and contains imaged of naked teenage boys.
Board members cut the mother's reading short to call up the next speaker, but audience members applauded her for taking a stand against the material.
"Flamer" has created a stir in other communities across the U. S., including in Oklahoma, where State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister called for the book to be banned from all public schools.
"This is inappropriate, sexually explicit material. It's pornography that does not belong in any public school library," Hofmeister said, according to KFOR News in Oklahoma City.
"We've reached out to Tulsa Public Schools and are calling for the books to be removed immediately," she said.
Parental rights advocates have put Dearborn in the spotlight in recent weeks with allegations that other sexually explicit materials were found in area schools.
The district enacted a book policy in October allowing parents to opt their children out of certain books, but parents argued that finding which books are inappropriate should not be their responsibility.
"My biggest concern is why is the burden on the parent to find these books? What happens when the parents who don't read or speak English, why is it on them to opt-out, they don’t know what is going on?" one speaker Jeff Saleff said at a recent board meeting.... (Read more)