Parents in Grand Haven, Michigan are sounding off after the discovery of several obscene, sexually explicit young adult novels in the library at their local middle school.
According to The American Mirror, Jennifer Lee Stuppy, the mother of a student at Lakeshore Middle School, explained to school board members last month that she reviewed a seven-page list of LGBTQ books, including some with sexually explicit content warnings, sent to parents in December. Stuppy highlighted excerpts from one of the books, “One Man Guy” by Michael Barakiva.
“When I got the book, I was stunned by what I read thinking about kids ages 10 and 11 reading this book,” Stuppy said. “The book is about a 14-year-old boy, Alek, and his romantic encounter with an older sexually experienced, 17-year-old Ethan. Ethan details a sexual relationship he had with a college student who lived in his home when he was only 15 years old himself. Now it’s a few years later and an older, sexually experienced, Ethan is pursuing 14-year-old Alek.”
Stuppy shared highlighted excerpts from the vile book in a Facebook post calling other parents to action:
“The book talks about how to steal from stores, which teachers they’d like to ‘bang,’” Stuppy continued, detailing the sick book. “And the thrill Alek experiences in a clothing store dressing room having older Ethan looking at his 14-year-old naked body, making out with him, with people nearby. One scene leads the reader to believe an older Ethan will give oral sex or anal sex to 14-year-old Alek right as his parents walk in.”
“This sexually explicit content, whether gay or straight, in my opinion, has no business being in the hands of 5th and 6th graders who are 10-12 year old minors,” she declared.
Stuppy had originally planned to read several of the more graphic excerpts at the meeting, but decided against it for the sake of the children present. Instead, she shared her written testimony along with the explicit clips directly to board members.
“Another parent brought to my attention just this week that we have another book in our schools where a young man describes how much he loved giving oral sex to people in his neighborhood as a six year old child,” Stuppy told the board, likely referring to “Beyond Magenta,” a sick, pedophilia-promoting book we’ve discussed in the past. “The content like this I’ve seen so far isn’t dissuading or speaking poorly of these acts, or the illegal nature of them, it seemingly attempts to normalize such things, to normalize the sexualization of young children. My hope is that Grand Haven can do better than this for our kids.”
Some people at the meeting and elsehwere in the community, however, were eager to defend the obscene books against “censorship,” arguing that we should simply trust the “experts” who determine what is and isn’t appropriate for children.
“I think censorship is a slippery slope,” one woman said, according to WZZM. “Children’s book organizations give books age appropriateness. These are experts who are determining that one person’s standard of what is and is not appropriate is a slippery slope to go down.”
The concerns also prompted a response from Jared Cramer, priest at St. John’s Episcopal Church, who argued the Bible is rife with sexual stories and twisted the issue into an attack on LGBTQ content, in particular.
Comparing the books on child rape, graphic sex, and assault available in the Grand Haven Middle School library to Judy Blume books about menstruation and wearing a bra, Cramer argued that “sexual content in young adult literature—gay or straight—helps adolescents form a healthy and positive sense of their sexual identity.”
Stuppy continued, undeterred, and visited the school board meeting again in February.
“Last month after the board meeting I sat down with my 6th graders and told them if they were ever uncomfortable reading something in a book they got from school they could tell us about it. My 6th grade son said ‘Yes, I just read something that made me feel very uncomfortable about a man looking at a girls crotch and raping her.’ He ran upstairs and quickly returned with a book his teacher gave him before winter break,” Stuppy told board members, according to The Mirror.
“The book details a 16 year old girl who is kidnapped and put in a house where an older man comes in the room to sexually assault her. He is kissing her, his tongue is down her throat, he rips her shirt off, his hands are touching her exposed breasts. She plays along like she’s enjoying it for a while. Then she bites his tongue hard, and slashes his face open with a piece of metal. He yells ‘You Bitch,’” Stuppy recalls.
“That’s pretty heavy reading material for a 6th grader,” she said. “I would never have consented to this book for my child.”
“You may say the story is conveying a good message,” another parent said at the meeting. “But what about the garbage you have to read to get through the book?”
In spite of the strong objections from parents like Stuppy over these grossly inappropriate books, district officials were aloof in offering any resolution or compromise to help keep the books out of the hands of young children.
According to WZZM, the school offers parents the option of receiving weekly updates on books their children check out from the library, having their child’s library log-in information, or providing the school with a specific list of book titles parents don’t want their children to read.
If none of these options are acceptable, parents can simply ban their children from entering the school library altogether.
“Putting the burden on parents to give them all the titles that they can’t read means that we have to go and find out every book in the library that’s sexually explicit and I don’t think that’s our job. I think they have librarians and I think they should be doing that,” Stuppy told WZZM.
School officials have made it clear that they refuse to do the job of ensuring that the library is free of explicit material, so Stuppy and other Grand Haven parents are calling on other concerned individuals to contact the school board and superintendent to demand that they begin taking the issue seriously.
While the books Stuppy and others have uncovered are vile and outright pornographic, there will always be new books added to library shelves. It is simply ridiculous to expect parents to do the job of the librarian in curating age-appropriate books unless they’re going to start putting parents like Stuppy on the school payroll! Call the Grand Haven school board and superintendent now and urge them to clean up their library!
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