Upset parents read excerpts from books they consider offensive at the school board which are in the libraries of Lampeter-Strasburg | Community News


When: Lampeter-Strasburg School Board meeting, November 1, in person and broadcast live.

What happened: Angry parents took to the podium to read aloud to the school board passages from novels offered in school libraries that feature sexually explicit content.

Outrage: Parents condemned the school board for authorizing books with offensive content in schools and asked who is responsible for authorized content in school libraries.

Quote: “You push social and emotional learning as you provide books to our children that fill them with ideas and normalize suicide, sex, drugs, prostitution, rape, incest, hatred and abuse. “said Melissa Smith. “These are ideas many would not be familiar with without the ideas presented at school.

Content read: Smith read excerpts from Abdi Nazemian’s “Like a Love Story,” which she says is available in the digital library and in the high school library. The story follows a trio of gay teens as they navigate crushes and heartaches alongside the hysteria and activism that has arisen in the wake of the AIDS epidemic. She has also read passages from “Tricks” about five troubled teens who fall into prostitution and “The You I’ve Never Known”, which deals with bisexuality. Both novels are written by Ellen Hopkins. Relative Justina Baum has read excerpts from “Not All Boys Are Blue” by George Johnson, which tells the author’s story of growing up queer and black in America. She said she found the book very offensive and was extremely uncomfortable reading parts of it in public. Matt Donaldson read excerpts from “Something Happened in Our Town”. The story follows a white family and a black family as they discuss the shooting of a black man in their community. The book is a children’s story about racial injustice. Donaldson said the book is available at the library at Hans Herr Elementary School and that its contents do not belong to the school.

And after: Board chair Melissa Herr has asked parents to email a list of book titles and authors to the respective directors or Superintendent Kevin Peart. The board did not comment on the books, but Herr promised parents the case would be reviewed.

Proposed construction project: The council passed Law 34, which is another step in the process of the proposed construction of an early childhood and kindergarten center. The hearing on Bill 34 is scheduled for December 6 at 6:30 p.m.

Background: A Bill 34 hearing is the public presentation of the project, including the proposed floor plan and associated costs. It is required by the state Department of Education as part of the construction process.

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