PABBIS NEWS FEB 3 2003 - NOV 2 2003
News Flash!! - 2 November 2003
WARNING - Toddy Puller Tells Big Whopper
Recent campaign literature mailed by State Senator Toddy Puller accuses PABBIS of having a list of “objectionable books? including Harry Potter, Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl, The Color Purple, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Huckleberry Finn, and of trying to ban these books.
Her charges are not true, and an example of “reverse McCarthyism?at its best. PABBIS has never tried to “ban?any of these books. Senator Puller is lying in an attempt to smear her opponent just before the election. Official school board records show that there was never even a discussion on any of these books.
These five books are contained on the same kind of list offered by the American Library Association: a list of books that others have objected to. Our own website points out that “PABBIS has not read/reviewed most of these books. PABBIS does not understand why some of the books, on some of the lists would even be challenged.? We simply list the books to let readers know what others have done.
PABBIS is not taking a position in the 36th District State Senate race. But we do think elected officials like Senator Puller should tell the truth, and on that standard she has failed.
Fairfax County Providence District Supervisor Gerald Connolly has also been mailing similar campaign literature making up stories about PABBIS and his opponent. It is very disappointing that these elected officials would resort to dirty politics and deceiving citizens.
29 October 2003
FCPS Quickly Acquires New Book Promoting Homosexuality and Bisexuality - Places Some Copies in Elementary and Middle School
My Heartbeat was copyrighted in 2002. The Fairfax County Public School (FCPS) library catalog uses the subject term: Homosexuality - Fiction, to describe this book. The catalog review says this book is for Grade 9 and up. There are already 17 copies of My Heartbeat in the county schools. Two copies are in Glasgow MS, a 6-8th grade school (Principal G.T. Tarazi and Librarians Karen Eagle and Tina Pounds) and one copy is in Clearview ES (Principal Elaine Wellner).
My Heartbeat is about Ellen, a 14-year old girl in love with James, her high school senior brother's best friend, who is also a senior. James is in love with Ellen's brother. The FCPS catalog review says this book is about "the ambiguities of sexual identity." The review states, "James tells Ellen he has slept with men, but that he is also attracted to woman; the two of them spend time together alone for the first time, and after much thought and discussion, she has her first sexual experience and he his first with a female." In the book one reads about how, immediately after having sex with James, Ellen thinks, ".. I see a lot of beautiful men and women when I think of James' future lovers."
Superintendent Domenech should explain to the public why this book seems to be an 'instant classic' in FCPS. The anything-goes-at-any-age extremists on the school board (Belter, Gibson, Kory, Smith and Strauss) should explain to citizens why they support pushing books like this to pre-teens. To many citizens it looks like an agenda.
These extreme school board members should explain their standards of (in)decency to county taxpayers. A book advocating, among other things, homosexuality, bisexuality and a 14-year old girl having sex with an 18-year old is extreme use of taxpayer money in "educating" children. A trite, evasive response from these school board members, such as "no hate" or "diversity" might not make sense to taxpayers, especially the parents of the 9, 10, 11 or 12-year old children who will encounter this book in their school.
My Heartbeat has been added to the PABBIS website. There are now 74 books in the PABBIS excerpts section.
YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK IN THE FAIRFAX COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS
25 September 2003
Fairfax County School Board Elections
Currently the Fairfax County School Board (FCSB) is controlled by a majority of anything-goes-at-any-age extremists when it comes to explicit books. The upcoming elections have the possibility of leaving these extremists in a minority position. Their fiscally and socially left-of-center book positions are out of touch with Fairfax County citizens who are tired of their taxes skyrocketing while they hear about things like a $60,000 student sex survey, more R-rated movies and secret salary negotiations with the FCPS Superintendent.
The fiscal and moral judgment of the current extremists is certainly in question on much more than smutty book issues. However their pro-smutty book positions are indicative of the arrogance and the left-of-center positions they often have. Many parents and citizens are getting tired of finding yet another book with explicit sex and the like being acquired with our tax dollars for use with children. They are getting even more tired of hearing from certain FCSB and FCPS officials on how this is a good thing and the American Way.
Thankfully many teachers, principals and schools are acting responsibly on their own and removing this age-inappropriate material. The extremists on the FCSB need to get a grip - removing books with oral sex, pedophilia, incest, etc from use with (sometimes even pre-teen) children will not cause the Fourth Reich. The answers to the issues in our schools will not be found in Hollywood values and decadence. The anything-goes-at-any-age extremists and their arrogant shenanigans should be replaced with representatives more in tune with the moderate fiscal and social viewpoints of the majority of the community.
There are twelve school board members. Seven are running as incumbents. In the races for the three at-large seats PABBIS supports Rita Thompson, Steve Hunt and E.J. "Nell" Hurley. Thompson is an experienced incumbent who supports standards of decency in FCPS books and Upfront Informed Parental Consent. Hunt and Hurley have a detailed familiarity with a multitude of county school issues. They both are expected to support minimum standards of decency in books and oppose sex surveys, R-rated movies and the like.
PABBIS wants to inform people about the policies of another candidate for an at-large seat - Lynn Terhar. Terhar is an extremist affiliated with some of the left-of-center current board members. Terhar spearheaded an effort that wanted to do things like place The Pillars of the Earth, a book with a character requiring violence to become sexually excited, oral sex, multiple rapes, gang rapes, tortures, a boys earlobes being cut off while he was forced to watch his sister being raped by two men, and extensive other graphic material back in middle school. This was in spite of the fact that a school board majority voted to limit it to 10th grade and up. Terhar has even worked hard to limit the right of citizens to complain about explicit books. She supports numerous books with explicit and graphic material at even the elementary and middle school level. A vote for Terhar is a vote for smut - smut for children with tax money.
In the races for the local districts:
Braddock District - PABBIS supports incumbent Judith (Tessie) Wilson who has a track record of usually voting against age-inappropriate use of smutty books.
Dransville District - Pro-smutty book incumbent Jane Strauss is running unopposed.
Lee District - PABBIS currently has no comment on the race between Republican endorsed Terri Dacales and Democrat endorsed Brad Center.
Mt. Vernon District - PABBIS is happy that the current pro-smutty book member Isis Castro is not running again. PABBIS currently has no comment on the race between Republican endorsed Marsha Paul and Democrat endorsed Daniel Storck .
Providence District - Democrat endorsed candidate Phil Niedzielski-Eichner is running unopposed.
Hunter Mill District - PABBIS supports Arthur Purves. Stu Gibson his incumbent extremist opponent has a nearly 100% record of voting for smutty books. PABBIS regards the one time he voted against a smutty book as only an abberation.
Mason District - PABBIS supports Douglas Barylski. His incumbent extremist opponent Kaye Kory has a 100% record of voting for smutty books
Springfield District - PABBIS supports Scott Martin. His incumbent extremist opponent Cathy Belter has a 100% record of voting for smutty books.
Sully District - PABBIS supports Carl Cecil. His incumbent extremist opponent Kathy Smith has a 101% track record of support for smutty books. Smith would not even limit a book with a main focus of pedophile molestation and also with homosexuality, masturbation, drug use, a sex aid, extensive foul language and constant sexual situations to use in 7th grade and up. She has also supported limiting the rights of citizens to complain about books. Smith was elected in a special election with the unusual demographics of a very small turnout.
In the Hunter Mill, Mason, Springfield and Sully districts the incumbents are all pro-smutty book - vote for their opponents.
The current Democrat controlled school board has a track record of almost always voting in lockstep for smutty books. It appears this position has become a litmus test for the left-of-center extremists currently in control of the board. So far PABBIS has not taken a position in the Mt. Vernon and Lee district races between the Democrat and Republican endorsed candidates. We are cautiously optimistic that candidates from both parties would consider the controversial book issue and standards of decency in FCPS book acquisition and selection. We do not think all Democrat endorsed candidates will automatically and necessarily support things like oral sex in middle school fiction. We are hopeful that this is only a manifestation of the incumbent anything-goes-at-any-age Democrat endorsed members. PABBIS will inquire about the Mt. Vernon and Lee district candidates positions on books.
Controversial books are just a few of the many decisions involved with being a school board member but these decisions seem to be a good gauge of the overall fiscal and social perspective of the board members. It boils down to those who think more dollars for smut is part of the solution versus those who think more dollars for smut is part of the problem.
So the message to Fairfax County citizens is vote for Thompson, Hunt and Hurley at-large. All citizens will get to vote for four members - the 3 at-large and one in their district. Vote for Thompson, Hunt and Hurley and find out who is running in your district. Vote against smut for kids with tax money. Demand accountability.
GET INVOLVED - VOTE!
Unlimited Distribution of this News Release Authorized
18 September 2003
Connolly speaks out in support of smut in schools - compares it to sections of the Bible
In remarks on September 11, 2003 Fairfax County Providence District Supervisor Gerald Connolly compared explicit material in K-12 public school books to sections of the Bible. The Washington Post reported he said he “can show you sections of the Bible that ought to be banned in the schools.?
Gerald Connolly has not yet told the public which sections of the Bible he was talking about. We think that is because a side-by-side comparison of whatever sections of the Bible he identifies, to the explicit and age-inappropriate material in the FCPS K-12 books he supports, will result in him looking very extreme.
Numerous emails have been sent by PABBIS to Supervisor Gerald Connolly over the past 2 years. He is very well informed on how explicit some books are in Fairfax County Public Schools and apparently doesn’t even care. In fact he is in favor of these smutty books. Connolly should explain why he supports spending scarce tax dollars on smut for use in the “education?of K-12 school children.
Connolly should explain to the public the specifics of the smut he supports. He should explain why he thinks anything-goes with our tax dollars and children. He should explain why he thinks anything goes while even Democrats on the school board have voted to restrict some of this explicit material.
When PABBIS started complaining about Fade, a book by Robert Cormier, it was in seven middle schools and even in one elementary school. Fade is specifically noted in the FCPS library catalog review to be for grade 10 - 12. The FCPS library catalog describes Fade as bleak, dark, disturbing, and violent and says that there is not a lot of sex in this book, but the sex is explicit. The Fairfax County Public Library places this book in the adult section. It has foul language and scenes with incest, pedophilia, and oral sex.
Fade has an adult man paying a 13-year old girl to perform oral sex on her and then a graphic description of him doing it. There is also a teenage boy who attempts to force a 9-year old boy to perform oral sex on him. While this sort of thing might meet Supervisor Connolly's "standards," many voters have a standard for their children's reading and use of their tax money much higher than that.
Exactly what "sections" of the Bible do you wish to compare to the material in Fade Supervisor Connolly? Do you disagree with the seven elementary and middle school principals that have decided to remove this book? Do you think this type of material is appropriate for elementary and middle school children? Do you want to use our tax money to buy a copy of Fade for all the county elementary and middle schools?
Stop skirting the issue Supervisor Connolly. Give us some straight talk. If you support books with oral sex, incest and pedophilia in FCPS elementary and middle schools come out and clearly say it.
The fiscal and moral judgment of Supervisor Connolly is certainly in question on much more than the smutty book issue. However his pro-smutty book position is indicative of the arrogance and the left-of-center positions he often has. Many parents and citizens are getting tired of finding yet another book with age-inappropriate content being acquired with our tax dollars for use with children. They are also getting tired of hearing Fairfax County officials like Supervisor Connolly telling us this is a good thing and the American way.
You can see what type material Connolly knows is being used in our schools by reading some of the emails PABBIS has sent him over the last 2 years. Click Here to do so.
Gerald Connolly is a pro-smut extremist now trying to morph himself into a moderate because of the upcoming elections. We know what type of material you support Gerald. We understand why you don’t want the public to know how extreme it is. It certainly doesn’t reflect well on you. We understand why you would rather make vague remarks about the Bible and obfuscate the issue instead of letting voters know what you support spending our tax money on - you are out of touch socially and fiscally with the citizens of Fairfax County.
On September 11, 2003 Connolly said his priority is education. The question is exactly what type of "education" he has in mind.
Unlimited Distribution of this News Release Authorized
22 July 2003
Herndon MS Has The Most Explicit Books
Two months ago PABBIS investigated explicit books in Fairfax County middle schools. Seventy-five controversial and explicit books were identified and FCPS middle schools were searched to see which ones had which of the books.
Herndon MS had the most controversial and explicit books, Longfellow MS was a close second, and Glasgow MS was a close third. One middle school didn't have any of the books we investigated! Three others only had one or two of the books. Kudos to these schools and their professional librarians who understand what age-appropriate means.
Shame on Principal Frank Jenkins and Librarians Karen (Sue) Hurwitz, Mary Sue Cullen, and Doris Sell at Herndon MS. Shame on Principal Vince Lynch and Librarians Marie Schryver and Matthew Beall at Longfellow MS. Shame on Acting Principal Barbara Harrison and Librarians Karen Eagle and Tina Pounds at Glasgow, a 6th - 8th grade MS!
There are more explicit books in these three middle schools than in other middle schools in FCPS. There is clearly a wide variation in "what goes" in FCPS middle schools. Some seem to understand age-differentiation and good taste, and in others "anything goes." Why?
On February 14 PABBIS News had a story about Fade by Robert Cormier. Fade is specifically noted in the FCPS library catalog review to be for grade 10 - 12. The FCPS library catalog describes Fade as bleak, dark, disturbing, and violent and says that there is not a lot of sex in this book, but the sex is explicit. The Fairfax County Public Library places this book in the adult section. Fade is the 65th most challenged book of the 1990's according to the American Library Association. It has foul language and scenes with incest, pedophilia, and oral sex.
When our story on Fade came out the book was in seven Fairfax County middle schools. After the story, all of them elected to remove it or place it in the professional section, except for Herndon MS and one other (Jackson MS). Herndon MS even has two copies of the book! Their response gives parents a clear picture of just what Principal Frank Jenkins and Librarians Karen (Sue) Hurwitz, Mary Sue Cullen, and Doris Sell think are age appropriate Standards of Decency for middle school children, and appropriate use of our tax dollars. The content in Fade also gives parents a clear picture of just what some "anything goes at any age" extremists on the Fairfax County school board think is acceptable material. They are all aware this book is still in Herndon and Jackson middle school and their inaction on this matter speaks volumes.
PABBIS won't identify the middle school without any of the controversial and explicit books we investigated because we are concerned that the most extreme ALA librarians in FCPS will force explicit "young adult" ALA books into this school. But many parents and children in Fairfax County thank you anonymously. Keep up the good work! Also thanks to those that send PABBIS information about books being used in the school system.
YOUR FAIRFAX COUNTY TAX MONEY HARD AT WORK IN HERNDON, LONGFELLOW AND GLASGOW MIDDLE SCHOOLS
21 July 2003
FCPS accelerates pace on purchases of homosexual fiction books
This time last summer the public became aware FCPS Supt. Domenech was receptive to a homosexual advocacy group and their desire to donate homosexual themed books to FCPS. Fortunately these planned donations have not yet occurred. As part of school board discussions on the matter it was revealed there were already many titles and copies of homosexual themed books in FCPS. PABBIS has done news stories on some of these titles, including explicit books in elementary and middle school.
As part of the investigation into this issue PABBIS discovered that many books with homosexual themes, action and situations in FCPS were not identified as such by the FCPS library catalog.
During the last year FCPS has accelerated its purchases of homosexual fiction. Eleven new titles, all copyrighted in 2002 or 2003, identified by the FCPS library catalog as books with a subject of homosexuality, lesbians, or gay fiction have been acquired by FCPS. And these are only the books identified as such by the FCPS library catalog.
Nobody seems to understand the logic behind the FCPS catalog "subject" listings. Books identified as "lesbians fiction" do not necessarily show up under the subject "gay fiction" or "homosexuality fiction." Books identified as "gay fiction" may or may not show up under "homosexuality fiction." Since fiction books with lesbian, gay or homosexual content might not even show up under any of these subject terms this all might only make sense to the company who made a lot of taxpayer money selling FCPS their expensive library catalog system software. Or it could be simply the way librarians choose to keep the public guessing so that the sheer volume of such material does not appear in any one search.
In addition to acquiring new homosexual fiction, FCPS is also acquiring more copies of the homosexual fiction titles they already have.
17 July 2003
FCPS Summer Reading
FCPS students are required to read at least one book over the summer. Most students are referred to the FCPS Suggested Summer Reading List to select their book. Other students, especially those in high school English classes, are referred to their class specific reading assignment.
In some good news the FCPS finally dropped Growing Up Chicano and When I Was Puerto Rican from their rising 9/10th grade and 11/12th grade Suggested Summer Reading Lists, respectively. These books both have explicit content and are in the PABBIS excerpts section. Some teachers are still using these two books on their class specific assignments.
Six books in the PABBIS excerpts section are on the 2003 FCPS Suggested Summer Reading Lists:
A Time for Dancing - 9/10th
Fallen Angels - 9/10th
Exodus - 9/10th
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings - 11/12th
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest - 11/12th
Ragtime - 11/12th
PABBIS believes these books should either be removed or parents should be provided specific information on the nature of their controversial content.
All FCPS Suggested Summer Reading List books are indicated as such, with marks on the book jacket, in Fairfax County Public Libraries. Be aware that it may take the county library some time to update these markings to reflect the latest Suggested Summer Reading Lists rather than some prior year list. Some books in Fairfax County Public Libraries still have markings reflecting the FCPS list from 2000! Since many students are all trying to check out and read the same books they will often check out books on old lists from the library because they are still marked and might be the only books available. Most of these books with old markings, and not on the 2003 FCPS Suggested Summer Reading Lists for high school, have explicit content and are in the PABBIS excerpts section.
While many explicit books on the PABBIS excerpts section show up on class reading lists, a few classes and teachers really stand out. Here are examples:
In the AP Literature class at Hayfield HS there are eight books on the summer reading list which are in the PABBIS excerpts section:
Bless Me Ultima
Like Water for Chocolate
The House of Spirits
Love in the Time of Cholera
Song of Solomon
Snow Falling On Cedars
Shame on Hayfield HS teachers Sharon Lee and Linda Halloway and shame on Arlene Crislip the Hayfield HS English Department Chair.
At Marshall HS Bless Me Ultima was required reading for rising 9th graders in the IB program and One Hundred Years of Solitude was required reading for rising 11th graders in the IB program. Shame on Connie Wineland the IB coordinator at Marshall HS.
PABBIS can't address all the class specific graphic summer reading in this news story. These are only two examples of classes with explicit books. Find out what is in the books your children are reading for their summer assignment.
With all the books available in the world it is difficult to understand why the FCPS list, and to a greater extent certain teacher's specific class lists, should create a minefield where children can encounter some very explicit material. For example Ragtime, a book still on the FCPS county list, has a woman being dog whipped and whipped with a razor strap during sex, oral sex and a scene, too graphic to describe here, of what happens when a man spies on a naked woman being massaged by another woman.
The content in Ragtime gives parents a clear picture of just what some anything goes at any age extremists on the Fairfax County school board think is not only acceptable but good enough and age appropriate to be FCPS suggested reading. Board members were provided the specific excerpts from Ragtime over a year ago and they are all aware this type material is still in books on the FCPS list. Their inaction on this matter speaks volumes.
FCPS - Where explicit material not only is allowed, but might be suggested or required
29 June 2003
More about extreme positions of the ALA
Our last news story explored explicit material, in so called young adult or YA books, the American Library Association (ALA) thinks appropriate for 12-year old children. The ALA believes 12-year old children are ready for sexually graphic and explicit material in fictional books. The ALA defining "young adults" as 12-18 years old is a method they use to expose younger and younger children to more explicit material.
This news story looks closer at what the ALA thinks appropriate for these 12-year old "young adults" in the way of supposedly non-fictional "sexual health" material. This, like the material in YA fictional books, is very explicit.
The ALA Young Adult Library Services Association has a portion of their website devoted to Resources for Teens. In the Sexual Health section, the Sexuality and Sexual Behavior section, and the Relationships section the ALA refers teens to a website named Go Ask Alice . This Go Ask Alice website is hosted by Columbia University.
Some of the information categories on this ALA YA recommended website include the following: Men using vibrators, Virgin woman with rape fantasies?, Bestiality, Cleaning cat ‘o nine tails, Sex with animals and STDs?, Straight man wants penis in mouth, Anal beads, Auto-erotic asphyxiation, Optimizing solo-sex, Objects in anus during sex?, Fingers in anus ?Safe?, Anal stimulation ain't just for gay men, Oral sex and ice cubes?, Does a good washing before analingus remove bacteria?, Is blowing air into the vagina dangerous?, What to do with a mouth full of semen?, Do diet and exercise affect the taste of semen?
There are many similarly explicit 'categories' on this website but these are enough to provide adequate insight to exactly what the ALA thinks is appropriate information for children as young as 12-years old.
The ALA is an organization with some very extremist positions. The "sexual health" information the ALA thinks appropriate for 12-year olds speaks for itself. Perhaps the ALA is against internet filters because they might filter out the very sites that the ALA is recommending for children. The Go Ask Alice website is not technically legally obscene, but for the ALA to recommend it for 12-year old children is extreme.
THE ALA - HELPING GET AND KEEP EXTREME MATERIAL IN K-12 SCHOOLS
26 June 2003
ALA Youth Advisory or YA Books
More and more so called YA or Young Adult books are entering K-12 schools. Ask people what age someone must be to be considered a young adult and they usually answer between 16 and 24 years old. Legally, to be an adult, one must be 18 or 21 years old. However the American Library Association (ALA) defines YA books as books for 12-18 year old readers. To the ALA even 12-year olds and young teenagers are "young adults."
The ALA YA Book genre is a way to introduce more explicit and graphic material to children. The ALA is an organization with some extremist positions. They have an official position of being against the removal, restriction, labeling, or placement in another part of the library of any book in response to a book challenge. The ALA's position on books is very similar to their position on porn filters on library computers. They would rather have many children exposed to porn than have one person have to walk a few feet to a non-filtered computer.
Books that Make Parents Blush, a March 11, 2001 article in the Washington Post by Linton Weeks noted YA books "may contain language and situations unsuitable for young readers" and pointed out while movies are rated for sex and violence, these books are not. This article said, "The boundaries between adult fiction and young adult fiction are so fogged over that there is a question whether the term "young adult" means anything." PABBIS believes the ALA definition of "young adult" means "anything goes."
Terms used in the article by Linton Weeks, and in Youth Fiction Takes a Stark, Eerie Turn, a December 17, 1999 The Washington Times article by Julia Duin, to describe YA book content include lust, hatred, horror, darkness, dysfunction, drugs, disease, gruesome death, adult situations, salty language, suicide themes, rape, demons, torture, gangs, mental illness, animal torture, divorce, incest and dismemberment. While these terms accurately describe the content of many YA books, even they aren't fully descriptive of how extreme the content can be in these books. In YA books one also finds pedophilia, oral sex, homosexuality, bestiality, masturbation, porno magazines, parental sexual abuse and prostitution. This content is not just in an occasional or rare YA book but in many books selected each year for the ALA's Best Books for Young Adults list.
Some books with explicit content that won an ALA Best YA Book award are:
Baby Be-Bop - 1996
My Father's Scar - 1997
Tenderness - 1998 (An ALA Top 10 Best YA Book)
The Perks of Being a Wallflower - 2000
Love and Sex: Ten Stories of Truth - 2002
Rainbow Boys - 2002
These books are just a few examples and only the tip of the iceberg of graphic books that win this yearly ALA award. They are highlighted because excerpts from them are available for review on the PABBIS website to provide more insight and details on the specifics of their controversial content.
Graphic violence, smut, vulgarity and indecency are in more and more places in society these days but until recently most people have not been aware of the role of the ALA in promoting and condoning books with this type content for use with children.
The ALA has book categories and awards that help get explicit material to their target audience of 12-18 year olds. ALA "best books" are often selected for use in the K-12 public schools by ALA members in their roles as taxpayer paid employees working within public school systems. These ALA "best books" are then purchased with taxpayer money. The ALA YA label is the first step in accomplishing this. The ALA Best YA Book of the Year is the second step.
To date the most outspoken proponent for use of the YA label or sticker in Fairfax County, even in elementary schools, has been School Board member Cathy Belter who is, surprise, a "professional" librarian. However this is not an unusual case - the ALA mafia is entrenched in public school systems around the country and in many cases are being paid with our tax dollars to bring more explicit and graphic books to our K-12 school children.
Not all members of the ALA are against porn filters on library computers. Not all members of the ALA believe anything goes at any age when it comes to K-12 books. Not all members of the ALA believe no action should ever be taken in response to a book challenge. However the organization these members belong to has these official positions and the membership dues collected go to support these policies and objectives.
A YA book or sticker does mean something - Youth Advisory Book: May contain extreme content not suitable for youth.
The ALA, of course, will express indignation at our viewpoint. However the facts speak clearly - YA ALA designated "best books" have material that would be R-rated in the movies and the ALA says they are good for 12-year old children to read.
THE ALA - HELPING GET AND KEEP EXTREME MATERIAL IN K-12 SCHOOLS
17 June 2003
"Anything goes" School Board Members Vote To Keep Explicit Books In Elementary and Middle Schools
At a June 9th meeting "anything goes" at any age Fairfax County school board members voted to keep The Chocolate War in elementary school and I Was a Teenage Fairy in middle school.
The Chocolate War has multiple uses of the s-word, two dozen uses of 'bastard,' other foul language, masturbation, 'rape by eyeball', a boy sexually excited by roughhousing with or viciously tackling other boys, and other controversial material. FCPS produced multiple professional book reviews for The Chocolate War, but not one supported its use in elementary school.
I Was a Teenage Fairy is a book with a main plot of pedophile molestation, and also homosexuality, masturbation, drug and alcohol use, a sex aid, multiple uses of the s and f-words, other foul language, and constant sexual situations. FCPS's own library catalog review says I Was a Teenage Fairy is for grade 9 and up.
As usual Maribeth Luftglass of the Department of Information Technology (DIT) released the FCPS challenge committee reports to the school board without the names of the FCPS challenge committee members. FCPS likes to remain anonymous - even though four of the seven challenge committee members [and the chairperson and recorder] are FCPS employees. The school board doesn't operate in secret - why can FCPS employees?
Currently The Chocolate War is only in one elementary school - Halley. When the challenge to the The Chocolate War was first submitted it was in seven elementary schools but since that time all the schools but Halley ES either elected to remove it or have "lost' it.
I Was a Teenage Fairy is in three middle schools - Glasgow, Liberty and Poe. Two of these middle schools have 11-year old 6th graders.
We asked the challengers what they thought of the school board decision. They said, "The professional reviews were ignored. The 'anything goes at any age' extremists currently control a majority of votes. FCPS Supt. Domenech's decision to spend $5200 of taxpayer money to keep these two books in four schools is extremely wasteful. It is ironic one of these books is about a child molester. We think Supt. Domenech and some of the school board members are molesting children by using this material. They are out of touch with many parents and taxpaying citizens and often the school principals. Their standards of decency are now a matter of public record as evidenced by their actions and votes."
Members Belter, Castro, Frye, Gibson, Heastie, Smith and Strauss voted to keep using The Chocolate War in elementary school. Members Braunlich, Brickner, Thompson and Wilson voted to remove it. Members Belter, Castro, Frye, Heastie, Smith and Strauss voted to keep using I Was a Teenage Fairy in middle school. Members Braunlich, Brickner, Gibson, Thompson and Wilson voted to remove it. Member Kory was not in attendance for either vote. Member Kathy Smith had the most extreme anything goes at any age position, not even supporting a motion to limit the use of I Was a Teenage Fairy to 7th grade and up.
Click Here to see some of the remarks by school board members on The Chocolate War from the meeting and for more information on this book.
Click Here to see some of the remarks by school board members on I Was a Teenage Fairy from the meeting and for more information on this book.
YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK IN THE FAIRFAX COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS
6 June 2003
Superintendent Domenech's Standard of Decency for an Elementary School Book?
Athletic Shorts, by Chris Crutcher is in five Fairfax County elementary schools - Chesterbrook, Groveton, Oak Hill, Springfield Estates, and Waynewood. Athletic Shorts was the 63rd most challenged book of the 1990's. The FCPS library catalog review says this book is for grade 8 and up.
Superintendent Domenech and the Fairfax County School Board have ignored over 1500 adult citizens who requested that an age-appropriate book selection Standard of Decency be developed. Superintendent Domenech and the anything goes at any age extremists on the Fairfax County School Board constantly talk about what high standards they and the FCPS librarians have, however they refuse to commit to any specifics in a policy. In fact the current FCPS book selection regulation gives a green light to anything goes. It does not even mention age appropriateness. The material in Athletic Shorts gives citizens a clear picture of what Superintendent Domenech's 'standards' are for elementary school children.
In Athletic Shorts elementary school children can read numerous uses and variations of the s-word, racial slurs including two dozen uses of the n-word, and other crude language.
Children can read about a boy whose mom married another woman and whose dad married another man. They can also read about a boy who dies from AIDS he got from "anal intercourse with another man."
They can also read a disgusting multi-page description about a mentally slow boy who gets serious gas and diarrhea at school because he ate raw Bisquick and strawberry shampoo for breakfast.
Shouldn't a professional librarian (and their aides and assistants) dealing with pre-teen children know this is a very controversial book? Shouldn't a professional librarian pay attention to their own FCPS catalog review? Why would they decide to expose elementary school children, age 5-11, to this type of material?
It is bad enough Superintendent Domenech thinks this book is a good literature choice for middle school, but the placement of this book in elementary schools is outrageous. PABBIS hopes this was a mistake and Chesterbrook Principal Jane Rice, Groveton Principal Christine Lamb, Oak Hill Principal Marie Merenda, Springfield Estates Principal Linda Domina, and Waynewood Principal Nancy Coughlan will remove Athletic Shorts immediately.
Athletic Shorts has been added to the PABBIS website. There are now 73 books in the PABBIS excerpts section. See the excerpts for a more complete description of the controversial language, action and situations in this book.
YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK IN THE FAIRFAX COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS
3 June 2003
Another book about rape in Fairfax County Elementary Schools
Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson was just copyrighted in 1999. One of the subject terms the FCPS library catalog uses for Speak is: Rape -- Fiction. FCPS really seems to like this book. There are already 75 copies in the schools. Nearly all high schools have copies and about half the middle schools. Speak is even in two elementary schools - Hollin Meadows and Mount Vernon Woods. PABBIS hopes the placement of this book in elementary school is a mistake and they will be removed.
Poe Middle School (Principal June Monterio and Librarians Lisa Muir and Danielle Powers) really like this book. There are nine copies in Poe MS. FCPS should explain to taxpayers why one particular 6-8th grade middle school needs nine copies of a fictional rape book.
Speak is about a girl raped by a rising senior the summer before she enters high school. She doesn't tell anyone about the rape. Freshman year her grades are poor, she is a social outcast and depressed, and hardly even speaks. The rapist continues to scare and bother her and at the end of the book he attempts to rape her again.
Speak is not age-appropriate for elementary school children. Even the FCPS library catalog review says this book is for grade 8 and up. To have so many copies in Poe, a 6-8th grade middle school, begs explanation.
Speak has been added to the PABBIS website. There are now 72 books in the PABBIS excerpts section.
29 May 2003
Book about rape in a Fairfax County Elementary School
Are You in the House Alone?, by Richard Peck, is in Buzz Aldrin ES. Eight middle schools also have this book - Carson, Irving, Kilmer, Lanier, Liberty, Longfellow, Poe and Rocky Run. PABBIS hopes the placement of this book in an elementary school was a mistake and it will be removed. It is bad enough this book is in middle school, but it is unbelievable that FCPS thinks a book about rape is age-appropriate for our elementary schools.
The only subject term the FCPS library catalog uses for this book is: Rape -- Fiction. Are You in the House Alone? is about a high school girl who receives threatening notes and phone calls, is stalked and finally is raped. On the first page of the book we learn she has had sex with her boyfriend 10 or 12 times. Later we learn she is on birth control pills. Her rapist turns out to be her best friend's boyfriend.
The threats start with a note on her school locker with “All the things someone thought I was. And all the things someone planned to do to me, to make me do. Every perverted, sadistic, sick, and sickening ugly act. A twisted porno movie playing in somebody’s brain. ..at the bottom..: YOU KNOW YOU WANT IT. YOU’LL GET IT.?
Students can read about her post-rape pelvic exam, insertion of a speculum to check for traces of sperm, the checking of the pouch under the entrance of her uterus for secretions and sperm, how there was no tearing, how she can’t be pregnant because she is still taking her birth control pills, how she must keep taking them until her cycle is complete, how her vaginal secretions indicate numerous motile spermatazoa, and about her tests for venereal disease (syphilis and gonorrhea).
The police question her at the hospital implying she wasn’t really raped - that it perhaps was consensual. Her family doesn't charge her rapist because they know he will get off because he is rich and her being on birth control pills and active sexually will be used against her. Her attacker then rapes another girl from the high school, leaving her for dead in a ditch. She lives and finally everyone is convinced he is the rapist. As the book ends we don't even know if the rapist has been charged with anything or is off at school in Vermont.
Stu Gibson is the Fairfax County school board representative (Hunter Mill District) for Buzz Aldrin ES. He consistently votes to keep age inappropriate material in the schools and even initiated a proposal that would only let a special class of citizens with "standing" challenge books. If you have child at Buzz Aldrin ES we recommend you talk to the school principal and librarian instead of contacting your school board representative about this book.
Are You in the House Alone? has been added to the PABBIS website. There are now 71 books in the PABBIS excerpts section.
28 May 2003
Why is a book like this in a Fairfax County Elementary School?
If it doesn’t kill you, by Margaret Bechard, has been in London Towne ES for at least a year. This short, easy to read book was copyrighted in 1999 and by last summer FCPS already had four copies. Three of the copies are in high schools. PABBIS hopes the placement of this book in an elementary school was a mistake and it will be removed. It is bad enough FCPS is wasting our scarce tax dollars on "literature" like this, but placing it in elementary school is outrageous.
One of the subject terms the FCPS library catalog uses for this book is; Homosexuality -- Fiction. The main story line in If it doesn’t kill you is about a boy whose father has just moved out to go live with his boyfriend. Other age inappropriate material for elementary school children includes drugs, alcohol, drunkenness, having sex, nipple piercing, condoms [mentioned 9 times], and how guys on the varsity football team can't be virgins and keep count of how many girls they've had.
Kathy Smith, the Fairfax County school board representative (Sully District) for London Towne ES has voted to keep very explicit and inappropriate material in our middle schools. She also voted to keep a book advocating homosexuality in the elementary schools and even supported only letting a special class of citizens with "standing" challenge books. So if you contact her to complain about this book, don't be surprised if your complaint falls on deaf ears.
If it doesn’t kill you has been added to the PABBIS website. There are now 70 books in the PABBIS excerpts section.
21 May 2003
Are We Lucky This Book Is In FCPS?
Lucky, by Alice Sebold, is now in Annandale HS. PABBIS thinks Annandale HS Principal Don Clausen and Librarians Janet Pfeiffer and Paule Woolsey have made a bad choice in spending our tax money on this book. It should be removed from Annandale HS and not acquired for any other schools.
Lucky is about the brutal, vicious rape of a virgin college freshman and how she deals with it, including her post-rape heroin addiction. The book starts with her rape. Being beaten, choked to unconsciousness, forced to perform oral sex, being urinated on and what her rapist did with his tongue, fingers, fist and penis are graphically described.
Fairfax County citizens, parents, taxpayers and children are not lucky that Lucky has entered our schools. Principal Don Clausen and Librarians Janet Pfeiffer and Paule Woolsey - Where is your sense of decency and age-appropriateness for children, some as young as 14-years old?
Does Kaye Kory, the Fairfax County school board representative for the Annandale HS school district, support the use of this book? Most likely she does. She voted to keep Druids by Morgan Llywelyn in our high schools - A book with graphic descriptions of sex, oral sex, "sex magic", and the main character wanting to rape. She even voted to keep Witch Baby , by Francesca Block, author of a series of books with homosexual themes, actions and situations, in elementary schools, despite the FCPS library catalog review saying grade 8 - 12.
Lucky has been added to the PABBIS website. There are now 69 books in the PABBIS excerpts section.
15 May 2003
Why is One Hot Second: Stories About Desire in Franklin Middle School?
One Hot Second: Stories About Desire was just published in 2002. By the summer of 2002 the FCPS book 'cataloging' department had already purchased this book. Now it is in Franklin MS and three high schools (Hayfield, South Lakes, Westfield).
The cover of this book is picture of girl’s chin, mouth, and right nose nostril. FCPS uses both the subject terms sex and love but the book is mostly about sex. The book is a collection of 11 short stories. The FCPS summary says it is a "collection of original stories dealing with teens emerging sexuality." Three of the stories are about homosexual relationships, one of them about a lesbian whose lover overdoses on heroin. French kissing, "touching yourself," condoms - colored, ribbed and lubricated, homosexual sex in the bathroom, walking in on a boyfriend sleeping with another girl, and a girl sleeping with her boyfriend to find out if she loves him are some topics explored in this book.
Another fictional book primarily about teenage sex - just what FCPS needs to spend more of our scarce tax dollars acquiring. Perhaps they were thinking this book would help students get the 'right' answers when they filled out the [recently cancelled] FCPS sex survey.
What was the FCPS 'cataloging' office thinking when they decided to put this book in the schools? How many people work in 'cataloging'? What were FCPS and Franklin MS thinking when they decided to put this book in middle school?
Franklin MS Principal Michelle Peyser, Librarians La Duska Adriance and Sheri Ruffle, and Librarian Assistant Marianne Keith seem to have a track record of age inappropriate books in their school. For example, Franklin MS is one of only two middle schools with How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents, a book for grade 10 and up according to the FCPS library catalog review. This book has profanity, diaphragms and rubbers, drug use, anti-religious, masturbation, pedophile and homosexual content.
On April 7th, Kathy Smith, the Fairfax County school board representative for the Franklin MS district voted to keep How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents in middle schools. Why does she support using our tax dollars on this type of material for these age students? Does she also support One Hot Second: Stories About Desire being used in a middle school in her district?
In the 14 April 2003 PABBIS News reported that we thought FCPS administration forced Principal Peyser to place How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents back in general circulation although she had previously stated it would be removed. Now we are not sure what is going on. Does Principal Peyser support this sort of material in her middle school? Does she even know what her librarians are selecting? Just how did One Hot Second: Stories About Desire end up in the Franklin MS library? Did FCPS 'cataloging' order it and send it to Franklin MS without Principal Peyser's or her librarians' knowledge?
One Hot Second: Stories About Desire edited by Cathy Young, has been added to the PABBIS website. There are now 68 books in the PABBIS excerpts section.
THE FCPS LIBRARY - YOUR TAX DOLLARS GONE IN A SECOND!
22 April 2003
What's Going On At Haycock Elementary School?
PABBIS decided to take a closer look at Fairfax County elementary schools with explicit books. We investigated which schools had these six books:
1) A Time for Dancing - Drug and alcohol use, extensive use of s and f-words, sexual situations, references to castration and size of boy's penis; FCPS library catalog review grade 7 - 10.
2) Fade - Extensive sexual situations including incest, pedophilia, oral sex; FCPS library catalog review grade 10 - 12; 65th most challenged book of the 1990's; see 14 February 2003 PABBIS News.
3) Fallen Angels - Extensive use of s and f-words, graphic violence, sexual transmitted disease, homosexuality; FCPS library catalog review grade 10 and up; 36th most challenged book of the 1990's.
4) The Chocolate War - Extensive foul language, masturbation, sexual situations, violence, boy sexually excited by roughhousing with or viciously tackling other boys; 4th most challenged book of the 1990's.
5) Uncle Vampire - Entire plot of the book focuses on the life of a high school girl who is being sexually abused (raped) by her uncle; FCPS library catalog review grade 7 - 10; see 16 December 2002 PABBIS News.
6) Witch Baby - One in a series of books by this author with homosexual themes, actions and situations; Others in series with pedophilia, foul language, drug and alcohol use; FCPS library catalog review grade 8 - 12; see 13 February 2003 PABBIS News.
NOTE: Information on which schools have these books is as of April 19, 2003. The explicit material description is only a summary. For a more complete description of the controversial material see the PABBIS excerpts section by clicking Here.
The following elementary schools had the six books:
1) A Time for Dancing - Clermont ES: Principal Jeannine Tate and Librarian Colleen Blevins
2) Fade - Haycock ES: Principal Jay McClain and Librarian Pat Mudrick
3) Fallen Angels - Haycock ES: Principal Jay McClain and Librarian Pat Mudrick; Camelot ES: Principal David Chubb and Librarian Octavia Jackson and Forest Edge ES: Principal Frank Bensinger and Librarian Lucy Cannon
4) The Chocolate War - Haycock ES: Principal Jay McClain and Librarian Pat Mudrick; Freedom Hill ES: Principal Georgia McGuire and Librarian Vicki Bland; Halley ES: Principal Janet Funk and Librarian Kathy Brown and Kent Gardens ES: Principal Robyn Hooker and Librarians Sheila Massie and Cheryl Waysome
5) Uncle Vampire - Lees Corner ES: Principal Clay Sande
6) Witch Baby - Springfield Estates ES: Principal Linda Domina
In addition Fade was in Herndon MS: Principal Frank Jenkins; Jackson MS: Principal Carol Robinson and Key MS: Principal Harold Price. Uncle Vampire was in Key MS: Principal Harold Price. Witch Baby was in Herndon MS: Principal Frank Jenkins and Kilmer MS: Principal Paul Farmer. The other three books investigated were in most or nearly all middle schools.
The good news is that these six books are only in a few elementary schools. The bad news is that they might be in your child's elementary school. Other good news is that, with one exception, each of the elementary schools with the books only had one of the six books investigated. The exception was Haycock ES, which had three of the six books!
Why do these elementary schools have such graphic and, according to the FCPS catalog itself, age inappropriate books? Is this the sort of reading material the principals of these schools think is appropriate? What is the purpose of books like these in an elementary school environment?
Why does Haycock ES have the most explicit books? What's the story with Haycock ES? Who is authorizing the purchases of these books - the principal or the librarian? Are they incompetent or do they have some kind of agenda to push smutty, age-inappropriate material to our children?
On February 14, 2003 there was a PABBIS news story on Fade, a book so explicit that it is cataloged in the adult section of Fairfax County Public Libraries. The FCPS library catalog describes this book as bleak, dark, disturbing, and violent. The FCPS catalog says that the sex in this book is explicit. The news story on Fade was sent to Principal McClain. Now, over 2 months later, according to the FCPS library catalog, this book is still in Haycock ES. That, and the fact there are at least two other explicit books at Haycock ES, makes us wonder if Principal McClain thinks this explicit material is appropriate for elementary school children. We hope the use of these explicit books in Haycock ES and all the other elementary schools was a mistake and the principals will decide to remove them.
YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK IN THE FAIRFAX COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS
14 April 2003
School Board Decision on challenges to Growing Up Chicano and How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents
On April 7, 2003 the Fairfax County school board discussed the challenges to Growing Up Chicano and How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents. The challengers had requested that these books be removed from all FCPS elementary and middle schools and the future use of these books at these age levels be prohibited.
First there was a lengthy discussion on whether the school board could decide to prohibit the use of these books in elementary school before they were actually used there. Stu Gibson argued that the board could only be reactive and they did not even have the power to decide something was not allowed in the future. Eventually they decided to ask the school board council what the board could and could not do and limited their discussion to the current use of these books in middle school.
No motion was made in response to FCPS Supt. Domenech's decision to keep Growing Up Chicano in the middle schools, so it will continue to be used there. Currently this book is in four middle schools: Irving - Principal William Oehrlein, Key - Principal Harold Price, Lanier - Principal Peter Noonan, and Longfellow - Principal Vince Lynch. Longfellow Principal Vince Lynch was a member of the FCPS challenge committee for this book.
On the How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents challenge there was a vote. The vote was 6 to 4 to keep using this book in middle school. Members Belter, Castro, Frye, Gibson, Heastie, and Smith voted to keep using this book. Members Braunlich, Brickner, Thompson and Wilson voted to remove it. Member Kory was not in attendance.
Currently How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents is in two middle schools: Franklin - Principal Michelle Peyser and Herndon - Principal Frank Jenkins.
We asked the challengers what they thought of the school board decision. They said, "We are disappointed that nobody made a motion to vote on Growing Up Chicano. It has some very anti-religious content. On How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents we are disappointed that the vote was not favorable, but now the school board members are on public record as to specifically what they support for children in middle school. This book has profanity, diaphragms and rubbers, drug use, anti-religious, masturbation, pedophile and homosexual content. The professional reviews recommending it for grade 10 and up were ignored. The whole process is obviously political and the 'anything goes at any age' extremists control a majority of votes. But now parents know specifically what these board members support and that FCPS Supt. Domenech decided to spend $5200 of taxpayer money to keep the 6 copies of these two explicit books in middle school. We think many citizens of the county will be very surprised and disappointed by their actions."
Click Here to see some of the remarks by school board members during the meeting and PABBIS comments on their remarks. Also see the 1 April 2003 PABBIS News for more information on these two book challenges.
4 April 2003
Your Tax Dollars At Work in the Fairfax County Public Schools
This news story is about another inappropriate book found in Fairfax County middle schools - Where the Kissing Never Stops, by Ron Koertge. The main plot of this book is about a teenage boy's yearning for sexual experience. The book is specifically noted in the FCPS library catalog review to be for grade 11 - 12 but it is on the shelves in two middle schools (Irving and Key) and available to 9th - 12th grade students at nine high schools. The FCPS catalog review says, "The frankness of the language and the situations, common to older high-school students, makes this book appropriate for just that age."
The FCPS review says the main character's mother works as a stripper and that he and his friend are preoccupied with sexual fantasies. It also says, "The discussions and wisecracks between the boys about sex and masturbation will have readers laughing out loud..." The main character meets a girl and they "..consumate their affair.."
Wouldn't a professional librarian working with pre-teen children read the book or at least their own FCPS catalog review? Wouldn't a professional librarian dealing with pre-teen children know this is a very controversial book? Are they inept and incompetent or do they have some kind of agenda to push smutty, age-inappropriate material on our children?
This book contradicts what is purported to be taught in FCPS Family Life Education. Director Nancy Sprague emphasized at a recent school board meeting that our FLE curriculum is abstinence-based." The message of this book in no way supports abstinence, in fact, it encourages sexual activity. Seems like FCPS is talking out of both sides of its mouth. FCPS allows opting out of FLE, but then sneaks these kinds of books into the library for all unsuspecting kids and parents.
Why does the FCPS Superintendent, Dr. Domenech think this stuff is appropriate for children as young as 12 years old? Why are school board members Stu Gibson, Robert Frye, Jane Strauss, Isis Castro, Cathy Belter and some others making it harder for parents to complain, denying that controversial and inappropriate books are an issue, and continuing to ignore the request for Standards of Decency in book selection?
Why do Irving MS Principal William Oehrlein and librarians Ruth Milin, Jeanie Bailey and Jeannie Carruth think this book is appropriate for middle school students? Why do Key MS Principal Harold Price and librarians Deborah Bullock and Tracy Sollers think this book is appropriate for middle school students?
Why do these particular middle school libraries contain such an explicit and, according to the FCPS catalog itself, age inappropriate book. It is difficult to understand what FCPS might think the purpose of a book like this is in the educational environment.
There are 14 copies of Where the Kissing Never Stops in the Fairfax County Public schools - your tax dollars hard at work.
Where the Kissing Never Stops by Ron Koertge has been added to the PABBIS website. See the book section for the controversial excerpts in this book. With the addition of this book, there are now 67 books on the site.
1 April 2003
School Board Votes Monday, April 7th on Two More Challenged Books
On April 7, 2003 the Fairfax County school board will vote on the challenges to Growing Up Chicano and How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents.
FCPS elected to spend $2600 to defend the use of How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents in two middle schools (Franklin and Herndon) and $2600 to defend the use of Growing Up Chicano in four middle schools (Irving, Key, Lanier and Longfellow). FCPS thought it was worth spending $867 of tax money per school to retain these books. Of course it is typical for insular bureaucracies to defend their own actions in a knee-jerk fashion.
As usual Maribeth Luftglass of the Department of Information Technology (DIT) released the committee reports without the names of the committee members. FCPS wants to remain anonymous - even though four of the seven challenge committee members [and the chairperson and recorder] are FCPS employees. PABBIS doesn't think the committee should operate anonymously and hidden from the public - like a secret jury that challengers must appear before like an inquisition. The challengers said they do not even get the committee report (or vote numbers) unless they decide to appeal the decision to the school board. They are only informed by DIT that FCPS has decided to keep the book. Even after an appeal they still must wait about a month for the report.
For the record the How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents committee members were Jesse Hudson (FCPS MS administrator - Chantilly Center), Nora Oney (FCPS Poe MS English teacher), Alice O'Neil (FCPS Office of Equity and Compliance), Linda Stokely (parent), Betty Wilson (parent), Joyce Grand (school board appointed parent, Mason District, on FCPS curriculum advisory committee) and chairperson Susan Thorniley (FCPS DIT). Ruth Milen (FCPS Irving MS librarian) did not show up for the committee meeting. The committee all voted to keep the book in middle school.
For the record the Growing Up Chicano committee members were Vincent Lynch (FCPS Longfellow MS principal), Jan Rice (FCPS Lanier MS librarian), Eileen Talbett (FCPS Robinson MS English teacher), Cindy Fitzgerald (FCPS Office of Equity and Compliance), Elaine O'Hara (parent), Betsy Hagan (parent) and chairperson Susan Thorniley (FCPS DIT). Blanche Watson (parent) did not show up for the committee meeting. All but one of the committee voted to keep the book in middle school. Note that two of the FCPS employees on this committee were from schools with the book.
We asked the challengers what they thought of the committee votes. They said, "We are not surprised that committees assembled and chaired by FCPS decided to keep these books. That whole process is nothing but a kangaroo court. We were surprised that one person on one of the committees voted to remove the book. They all go like this and have always gone like this in the past. The committees are designed for the pre-determined outcome that FCPS wants to support their prior decision to use the book. At least the school board doesn't hold secret votes without records of who said and asked what."
Click Here to access the challenger's statements to the committees for these two books and four others - I Was a Teenage Fairy, The Chocolate War, Thousand Pieces of Gold, and When I Was Puerto Rican. The challengers said FCPS has informed them that they have decided to retain these four other books. They have or will be appealing these decisions to the school board. The Chocolate War was challenged in an elementary school and the other three books were challenged in middle schools.
14 March 2003
School Board Vote on Witch Baby
On March 10, 2003 the Fairfax County school board voted to keep Witch Baby in elementary and middle school. Members Belter, Castro, Kory, Frye, Gibson, Heastie, and Smith voted to keep this book in elementary school. Members Braunlich, Brickner, Thompson and Wilson voted to remove this book from elementary school. See 13 February 2003 PABBIS News for more information on this book challenge.
The school board members supporting removal of this book from elementary school brought up many of the points the challengers had made and member Chris Braunlich brought up one other key point. He noted that the new challenge policy has a "professional literature review" requirement, and that not one of the five "reviews" FCPS had presented supported use in elementary school. By using this book in elementary school he noted that FCPS is not even meeting their own "standards."
PABBIS understands Chris Braunlich's point. The 14 February 2003 PABBIS News story was about a book, Fade by Robert Cormier, recommended for grade 10-12 that is in elementary school. Fade has an adult paying a 13-year old girl to perform oral sex on her, and other explicit material. While this sort of thing might meet Superintendent Domenech's "standard," many families' have a standard for their children's reading much higher than that.
We now know the school system does not consider placement of fictional material advocating “alternative?sexual orientations, even in the elementary schools, to be a mistake on their part. We now know that the schools will use books at grade levels below that recommended in any reviews. We now know that the school system library catalog does not let anyone know when there is “alternative?sexual orientation material in a book, even when the book is in a series by an author well known for this. We now know that the Superintendent of schools supports all of this. We now know which school board members also support this.
A YA [Young Adult] sticker will be placed on elementary school copies of Witch Baby. PABBIS believes this a bad idea. YA books can contain very controversial, graphic and explicit material. To introduce the YA approach into elementary school is of great concern. Adults are 18 years old. Young adults are at least 18 years old. The children in elementary school are not even young teenagers, much less young adults. If a book receiving a YA review is eligible for placement in the elementary and middle schools, there will be a flood of graphic material, bought with tax dollars, heading for pre-teen children. Obviously this is the objective of some elected and non-elected school officials who support "anything goes - at any age" in the schools. Why else would FCPS have decided to spend $2600 to defend the use of this book in just six [now five] elementary and middle schools?
"Witch Baby" is part of a series of very controversial books by an author known for books with homosexual themes, actions and situations. The books in this series all have catchy covers and are easy to read. The series also has profanity, drug and alcohol use, masturbation, pedophilia, sex toys, explicit sex and other controversial material.
Another book, I Was a Teenage Fairy, by Francesca Block, the author of Witch Baby is currently being used in Fairfax County middle schools. I Was a Teenage Fairy has also been challenged. The excerpts to I Was a Teenage Fairy are very explicit and graphic. They can be found on the PABBIS excerpts section. The FCPS Department of Information Technology has already made a decision to keep this book in middle school. I Was a Teenage Fairy is a good example of what type books the author of Witch Baby writes, and is also a good example of what type of material can be found in a "Young Adult" book. Keeping Witch Baby in elementary school and placing a YA sticker on it will introduce 11-year old and younger children to this author, her book series, and serve as their introduction to "alternative" sexual orientation and increasingly explicit material.
Click Here to see some of the remarks by school board members who supported keeping this book in elementary school.
5 March 2003
PABBIS Website Updates
A link to the Fairfax County Parents website at FairfaxParents.org has been placed below the PABBIS Blackboard. The Fairfax County Parents organization is focused on building a foundation for a moral education. It has the following objectives on its homepage:
1- INFORM PARENTS - It takes an informed parent to make sure that your child is being taught in a moral environment, with teaching and curriculum that do not undermine your values and beliefs.
2 - HOLD OFFICIALS ACCOUNTABLE - The elected school board and the appointed superintendent should be held accountable for their oversight of the school system.
3 - PREPARE FOR 2003 ELECTIONS - All school board members will be up for election in November 2003. We want to help you make an educated decision about those who use our taxes to run the schools.
PABBIS is focused solely on the issue of controversial books in schools - in Fairfax County, VA and throughout the country. However we have been getting more and more requests for information on other issues, especially in Fairfax County.
Those looking for information about things going on in the K-12 schools - such as the recent student sex survey, changes to allow R-rated movies, what’s going on with school board members, proposed changes to sexual orientation policy language, the unusual FCPS superintendent salary increase negotiations, the “lost video?and other many other non-book issues will find the Fairfax County Parents website useful and informative. Have a child in Fairfax County Schools and want to stay informed on more than controversial book issues? See the Fairfax County Parents website.
The PABBIS List of Lists has been updated - about 200 additional books have been added. The list is also now available sorted by author, and sorted by the Top 100 challenged books of the 1990’s. These enhancements were done in response to recommendations on how to make it easier to search for information about controversial books.
14 February 2003
Happy Valentine's Day! - A lovely book from the Fairfax County Public Schools for our children?
This news story is again about an inappropriate book found in Fairfax County elementary and middle schools. The book is specifically noted in the FCPS library catalog review to be for grade 10 - 12 but it's in one elementary school (Haycock) and seven middle schools (Herndon, Hughes, Jackson, Key, Longfellow, Stone, and Thoreau). The FCPS library catalog describes this book as bleak, dark, disturbing, and violent. The FCPS catalog says that there is not a lot of sex in this book, but the sex is explicit. The Fairfax County Public Library places this book in the adult section. This book is the 65th most challenged book of the 1990's according to the American Library Association.
What's the story with FCPS administrators in charge of libraries, and some FCPS librarians? Are they inept and incompetent or do they have some kind of agenda to push smutty, age-inappropriate material to our children? Wouldn't a professional librarian dealing with pre-teen children know this is a very controversial book? Wouldn't a professional librarian working with pre-teen children read the book or at least their own FCPS catalog review?
What's the story with the FCPS Superintendent, Dr. Domenech? Why does he think this stuff is appropriate? What's the story with Fairfax County School Board? It is laughable that Stu Gibson, Robert Frye, Jane Strauss, Isis Castro, Cathy Belter and some others on the school board are making it harder for parents to complain, are denying that controversial and inappropriate books are an issue, and are continuing to ignore the request for Standards of Decency in book selection.
What's the story with the Fairfax County Council of PTA's - shills for the "anything goes - at any age" extremists in FCPS and on the Fairfax County school board? They seem to be a little confused over what the "P" in PTA really means. Guess they got their extreme agenda marching orders from their national leaders.
Why do these particular elementary and middle school libraries contain such an explicit and, according to the FCPS catalog itself, age inappropriate book. Is this the sort of reading material the principals of these schools think is appropriate? Are the communities around these schools aware what their children can read at their neighborhood school? It is very hard to understand what FCPS might think the purpose of a book like this is in the K-8 educational environment.
PABBIS hopes this book will be "missing-in-action" like those challenged at Groveton ES (see previous PABBIS NEWS Stories), when the principals of these schools investigate the situation.
In this book pre-teen children can read foul language and scenes with incest, pedophilia, and oral sex. Fade by Robert Cormier has been added to the PABBIS website. See the book section for the controversial excerpts in this book. With the addition of this book, there are now 66 books on the site.
13 February 2003
Book Challenge Update News
The Superintendent of FCPS has forwarded the challenge to Witch Baby to the School Board. His letter to the school board noted that they should respond to the challenge by March 18, 2003. We asked the challengers to comment on the current status of the challenge. Here are their remarks:
- "We challenged this book because it introduces homosexual material into elementary school even though FCPS is not allowed to discuss this subject in elementary school Family Life Education (FLE). To have homosexual material in a fictional library book when it cannot be taught in the non-fictional FLE curriculum is duplicitous."
- "The library catalog in FCPS doesn't let people know this book contains homosexual material - even though this book is one in a series of books by this author with homosexual themes, actions and situations."
- "The FCPS library catalog system specifically notes this book is for grade 8-12. To use this book in elementary school contradicts their own catalog information and is inappropriate."
- "We are not surprised the committee assembled and chaired by FCPS decided to keep this book. That whole process is nothing but a kangaroo court. We were surprised that one person on the committee wanted to remove the book from elementary school."
- "We are not surprised that the committee statement has been released without the names of the committee members. It is so predictable that FCPS wants to remain anonymous - even though four of the seven committee members [and the chairperson] are FCPS employees. For the record the committee members were Darryle Craig, Gail Empey, Robert Gibbs, Shirley McCoy, Barbara Roberts, Katie Sargent, Karen Neyman, and chairperson Susan Thorniley. We don't think the committee should operate anonymously and hidden from the public - a secret jury that the challengers must appear before like an inquisition."
- "The craziest aspect of the whole process so far is that the packet on this challenge just sent to the school board contains five short reviews of Witch Baby and not one of them supports elementary school use. One says grade 8-12, two say grade 7-12, one says age 12 and up, and one says "For older readers." It looks like there is a consensus at what grade level to use this book, and it is not in elementary school. To us it looks like FCPS does whatever it wants, regardless of what reviews state."
NOTE from PABBIS: Witch Baby is not the only book in FCPS elementary school with homosexual themes, actions and situations. These other books PABBIS has identified and placed in the excerpt section are more explicit than Witch Baby. See PABBIS News 19 Dec 2002, 3 Jan 2003, 8 Jan 2003, and 21 Jan 2003.
Click Challengers Committee Statement to access the challenger's remarks to the committee.
School Board Refuses to follow the challenge regulation
We also asked the challengers about their open letter to the school board asking them to intervene in the challenge process for 10 books that FCPS has refused to accept their challenges on [See 4 Dec 2002 PABBIS News]. They said that last month they received a reply from the school board in which they refused to get involved. We asked the challengers to comment on this. Here are their remarks:
- "We don't have much to add to what we already said in the open letter. Basically it boils down to the following: FCPS doesn't want to follow their own challenge regulation and the school board doesn't want to make them follow it. The regulation is very clear and specific that any library material challenged for countywide removal must be sent by the principal of that school to DIT. Since these folks make the rules and are also their own judge and jury, they feel thay can misinterpret these rules with impunity."
- Ten of the first fifteen challenges we made were refused. Six of these ten books "were never really there" despite what their own expensive state of the art catalog system said. What a joke! It is amazing the catalog system is so accurate for non-controversial books and very convenient it is inaccurate for these books. Lost books, "missing-in-action books", miscataloged books and recataloged books. While we are happy these 10 books are no longer accessible to students in the schools we initiated these challenges in, many still are in other schools at the same grade level. FCPS is obstructionist and only accepts the challenges that they feel like. The school board appears to be no better. What are the odds of so many books being "missing-in -action" at one school?"
- "We are concerned that as easily as these books disappeared, were removed, and were cataloged out of general circulation, that they will reappear and get cataloged back in. A “shell game?is an unprofessional response. It smacks of a cover up."
- "The saddest statement in the response letter we received was that challenge committee members are "not asked if they belong to specific organizations or have specific beliefs." Well, duh! No reason to do that - nearly every person asked to serve on a committee is from specific organizations whose members have a particular belief. That belief is that all challenges are wrong, no matter what the material, no matter what is the age of the student. That is why the committee is biased for a pre-determined outcome as evidenced by history."
- "The funniest statement in the response letter we received was that the "majority of the items in the catalog are listed correctly." I'm sure taxpayers will not be very impressed to know that only over half the books in the expensive new system are listed correctly. In the case of the 10 books we wrote the school board about, 6 out of 10 were listed incorrectly."
- "It is clear to us that the FCPS doesn’t want the public to know what is in some of these ES and MS books, wants to continue to use these books now and in the future at these levels, and does not want anyone to be able to formally complain about this."
Challenge Regulation Changed
Last month the school board voted to modify the challenge regulation. See PABBIS News 2 January 2003 for the reasons they did this. As noted in the PABBIS Organizational Overview the challenge process is biased for a pre-determined outcome, retroactive, bureaucratic, and slow. The new challenge regulation makes the process more biased for a pre-determined outcome [if that is even possible], more retroactive, more bureaucratic, and even slower.
Stu 'anything-goes-at-any-age' Gibson introduced the move to change the regulation last summer as a result of the one book challenge in school year 2001-2002. It is interesting to note that the regulation was modified previously as a result of the 2 book challenges in school year 2000-2001. It is obvious that the school board wants to suppress the right of taxpayers to complain - it is just such a nuisance to listen to the complaints of taxpaying customers. If they complain, change the regulation so it's harder for them to do so in the future.
10 February 2003
Hughes Middle School - Pedophilia in a book and in real life with a teacher
At the end of last month a former physical education teacher at Langston Hughes MS entered an Alford plea of guilt to crimes against nature - consensual sodomy. She will be sentenced in April. This FCPS teacher initiated a homosexual relationship with an 8th grade girl while she was the girl's teacher at Hughes MS. This teacher continued the relationship with the young girl the next year at South Lakes HS, where she was the girl's basketball coach.
A challenge to the book When I was Puerto Rican was initiated at Hughes MS last fall [see PABBIS News 18 October 02]. Hughes MS Principal Deborah Jackson thought that this book was acceptable for her middle school students. PABBIS notes that this book has three instances of molestation/pedophilia. In the first the young girl has a perverted piano teacher who is also her school principal. He keeps rubbing against her and trying to see her breasts. The girl tells her mom about this incident. Another time the young girl is pinched on her breast by an adult relative and paid a dollar to not tell anyone about it. Although humiliated she doesn't tell her mom, or anyone else, about this - she buys an ice cream with the money. In a third instance the young girl watches a man from her window who, in a graphically described scene, is masturbating while looking at her. Although her mom is in the same room, the girl doesn't even tell her. In fact the girl goes back to the window and stares and smiles at the man.
Principal Jackson and FCPS just don't get it. When the challengers to When I was Puerto Rican met with Principal Jackson, they were provided with a review of the book taken from School Library Journal. The review of this book was taken from a February 1994 article on multiple books titled Adult Books For Young Adults, written by a FCPS employee - Pam Spencer. The review for When I was Puerto Rican, like every other book review in the article, was written by FCPS employees - the one for this book by Ginny Ryder. Pam Spencer's article did not indicate if she considered pre-teen children “young adults.?But Principal Jackson and the Hughes librarian, Jean Fidyk obviously do.
When I was Puerto Rican is also at Franklin, Holmes [6-8th], Key, and Glasgow [6-8th] middle schools.
An adult is 18 years old. Most 6th grade children are 11-years old. Why does FCPS think 11-year old children are young adults? Why does FCPS think 11-year olds should read about pedophilia and masturbation?