The House Committee on Education and the Workforce held a subcommittee hearing on Thursday to discuss explicit content of books in children’s school libraries.
In what many on the left claim is an epidemic of “book banning,” it is actually an epidemic of pornographic books being distributed to American school libraries, according to witnesses at a House hearing.
Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Aaron Bean, R-Fla., said the hearing was necessary.
“Some of my Democrat colleagues will inevitably accuse Republicans of engaging in a widespread campaign to ‘ban’ books because of racial animus or prejudice against LGBT students,” Bean said in his opening statement.
“However, none of the evidence suggests books are being removed for any reason other than inappropriate, explicit content.”
.@jonfreadom testified before the House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education Hearing in an Oct. 19 hearing, “Protecting Kids: Combating Graphic, Explicit Content in School Libraries.” (3/3)— PEN America (@PENamerica) October 19, 2023
Read his full opening statement: https://t.co/qxZsi35BAa
The Daily Signal reported:
Bean said that the truth is that the books that have been called into question are so obscene that reading passages from them has led to adults being censored in adult forums.
He cited two explicit books in particular.
“School Board officials in Clay County, Florida, had to cut a father’s microphone for reading ‘Lucky’ for fear that the explicit passages would violate FCC laws and regulations, since the School Board meeting was being televised,” Bean said.
“Late-night television refused to air an ad featuring language from ‘Gender Queer.'”
Bean said that this is an issue that reaches the federal level because the Biden administration is trying to deprive states and local districts of the right to determine what’s appropriate or inappropriate for their school library shelves.
“President [Joe] Biden appointed a book-review czar to monitor the actions of local school boards and potentially penalize them for simply reviewing books,” he said.
“I see this as a dangerous step and a violation of federalist principles,” he added.
He said that the hearing was meant to find out “how to best empower parents to be the greatest possible advocate for their child’s education.”
Lindsey Smith, chair of the Montgomery County, Maryland, chapter of Moms for Liberty, addressed issues she has with explicit content in her son’s school library.
“How did we get from protecting our children to the argument of ‘stop book banning?” she asked.
“This is not a case of heterosexual versus LGBT+, nor is this a political issue, or as many would call it ‘book banning.’ This is about the innocence and protection of our children.”
Smith said that parents should expect that if their children go into the home of another person, they shouldn’t expect the children to have easy access to pornography.
However, she said, that’s essentially what’s being demanded by proponents of keeping the explicit materials in school libraries.
Smith explained what she’d seen in school libraries was “appalling.” She said that sexually explicit materials were frequently accessible to children age 3 and older.
“One example is an innocent-looking book with bright colors and a puppy dog on the front,” she began.
“To a 3-year-old, this is appealing to them. The language of this book is far from appropriate. In the ‘hide and find’ glossary, three- to four-year-olds are encouraged to find images of leather, a drag queen, and underwear.”
The Maryland mom said that when her 3-year-old son brought the book home from class and found that it was being used as curriculum, she began asking questions and speaking up.
That book, she said, was approved by a committee not known to the public.
Another book that was brought to her attention was “Gender Queer.” She said the book, which was available in school libraries, graphically depicts sex acts.
One teacher requested eight copies for his class and media center, she said.
Smith said that these explicit books are a violation of indecency and obscenity laws.
“‘Gender Queer‘ is just one of the many examples that parent groups and so-called book banners actually are speaking up against,” she said.
“The sexually explicit and detailed content does not belong in our schools, and we are here asking you to hold [to] the laws and policies that were created on the local level.”
To prevent such material from getting into school libraries, she suggested that parent representatives be on the committees that review and select books.
Max Eden, a research fellow for the American Enterprise Institute, spoke about how left-wing media distort language to create the perception that there is an epidemic of “book banning.”
He cited an article he co-authored for The Daily Signal, in which he sought to find out how many books on a list created by PEN America, a left-wing advocacy group, were actually “banned.”
“Given that most English-language speakers understand the word ‘ban’ to mean ‘made unavailable,’ we conducted a study to determine how many of the 2,532 books that PEN America alleged were ‘banned’ were actually still present in school libraries,” Eden wrote in early October.
“The answer: About three-fourths of them.”
As far as the books that were “banned,” he wrote that there was a common theme.
“All 10 of the books we found that were actually removed most often contained disturbingly explicit passages about sex,” Eden wrote. The list included the aforementioned “Gender Queer.”
Eden said that the Biden administration’s Department of Education Office of Civil Rights is investigating and threatening to withdraw funding from school districts that “even think about removing these books.”
Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., a former school board member, said there’s been an “erosion” of public schools as an institution.
Grijalva said that the issue is that there is an increasing trend of trying to “control what people read and don’t read.”