Standish, ME

Maine School District 6 Votes to Keep Book in School Library

The Maine Writer

Maine School District 6 (MSAD 6), which serves 3,500 students in the towns of Buxton, Frye Island, Hollis, Limington, and Standish, and a group of parents at the August 22nd school board meeting had requested that two books be removed from the school library. One of the books was “It's Perfectly Normal”: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health by Robie Harris, and the other book was “Gender Queer” by Maia Kobabe.

The school board decided at the September 19th meeting to follow the procedure for a book challenge, which involves forming a committee to review the book that has had a complaint filed against it. The committee reviews the book and votes on whether they recommend it be removed from the school library or if it should remain in the school library. The committee was tasked with reviewing the book “Gender Queer" by Maia Kobabe. After the book committee had reviewed the book, the school board would discuss the committee's decision and vote on whether the board would accept the committee's recommendation at the October 3rd meeting.

The review committee made the recommendation that the school should keep the book in the school library. On October 3rd, board members had a discussion before the vote, and board member Erika Creutz said she felt if they chose to remove the book, then they would also have to remove art books that portray nudity or even the book "It" by Stephen King, which contains sexual themes. Board member Paul Welch said he doesn't see any reason to remove the book and that he doesn't feel the book constitutes pornography but does feel it is objectionable to some parents. Board member John Sargent said the board shouldn't be here because Bonny Eagle has a policy if parents want to opt-out of the book. Board member Ellen DeCotiis said she read the book and was touched by it. The book was a painful journey for the author, and she googled the definition of "pornography" and does not believe the book fits the description. Board member Kelly Heath said she fully supports the book remaining in the library and she fully supports the committee's work. Board member Julie Anderson said books need to be age- appropriate for all ages and calling it a book ban is politicizing the issue. Board member Nathan Carlow said that policy IJJ has established 11 criteria for material selection and the question was whether the book meets the criteria for selection.

The meeting ended up running past 9 p.m. and the board had to vote to extend the meeting, which they did, and then they took the vote on the book. In a vote with 10 out of the 11 board members voting to keep the book in the library, there was only one vote against keeping the book by board member Julie Anderson. The book Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe will remain in the Bonny Eagle library as recommended by the book review committee.

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I'm a Mainer that enjoys writing about current news events along with news from my state of Maine. Email me anytime @ TheMaineWriter with any news you feel should be looked into, news going on in your town/city etc. I would especially like to hear more about veterans' events and stories in your communities so I can tell more stories about issues veterans are facing. I always provide no spin, facts only journalism-- guaranteed.

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