Public schools are slipping kids text porn and treating parents like crazy people when they try to protect their kids.
Editor’s Note: This article contains graphic, fictional descriptions of sex, incest, sexual assault, and rape.
Four years ago, Laura Murphy, a mother of four from Fairfax, Virginia, was handed the Toni Morrison book “Beloved” by her son, then a senior at a local public high school. She flipped through the book, reading: “All in their twenties, minus women, fucking cows, dreaming of rape, thrashing on pallets, rubbing their thighs and waiting for the new girl.”
“I was just blown away,” she said. As Murphy continued to read, she discovered other graphic scenes depicting gang rape and bestiality.
“Both my boys [including her then-sophomore, who had been assigned “Obasan”] had complained for a long time about the books they had been told to read in school. Finally, I sat down to look at them. It was clear why neither one wanted to read their assigned books any more.”
After becoming familiar with the high school reading list that not only included “Beloved” and “Obasan” (a book about Japanese internment that contains descriptions of a little girl being repeatedly molested by a much older neighbor), but “The Bluest Eye,” another Morrison book, Murphy decided to make her concerns known to the school’s administration.
If Parents Know, They Won’t Like It
During a meeting with the principal and assistant principal, teachers, librarians, and the English Department chair, an English teacher told Murphy it was important to assign literary material written by best-selling, award-winning authors and if teachers publicly identified books containing sexually explicit material, parents won’t want their kids to read them.
“The principal said he didn’t feel he needed to make a change, and that I needed to go to the county level where my only recourse was to challenge a single book,” Murphy said. Murphy chose to challenge “Beloved,” losing each of three appeals.
Dissatisfied with the outcome, Murphy took her case to the Virginia Board of Education. When she attempted to email direct quotes from “Beloved” to members, the agency firewall prevented her communications from being delivered.
“At that point, some eyebrows were raised,” said Murphy. “They [the Board] have been extremely supportive, but there was just delay after delay.”
Finally, Murphy sought help from the Virginia legislature, where she was able to advance legislation requiring public schools to notify parents of sexually explicit material, allow them to review that content, and grant them an opt-out. In February, the bill passed unanimously out of the House of Delegates (98-0) and the Senate Education and Health Subcommittee (3-2).
Parents Feel Bullied To Comply
Kim Heinecke, also a mother of four with two teenaged sons, is an Edmond, Oklahoma, mother who can relate to Murphy’s battle. After her son, a public school sophomore, was assigned the books “The Kite Runner” and “The Glass Castle” as required reading for English II and Pre-AP English II, Heinecke went to the principal and asked for a conference.
“He talked to the teachers [prior to the meeting] and the English teacher’s response to him was that it was an award-winning book and kids hear this kind of thing all the time. I felt as though I didn’t have a right to tell them I didn’t want my kid to read it. They made me feel stupid,” Heinecke said.
She then wrote a letter to the Superintendent of Edmond Public Schools and to the Edmond School Board, detailing her concerns about the books, along with excerpts such as these;
I went into Grandpa’s bedroom and saw Erma [grandmother] kneeling on the floor in front of Brian [9-year-old grandson], grabbing at the crotch of his pants, squeezing and kneading while mumbling to herself and telling Brian to hold still, goddammit. Brian, his cheeks wet with tears, was holding his hands protectively between his legs. ‘Erma, you leave him alone!’ I shouted. Erma, still on her knees, twisted around and glared at me, ‘Why, you little bitch!’ she said. (page 146, “The Glass Castle”)
My mind flashed to that winter day six years ago. Me, peering around the corner in the alley. Kamal and Wali holding Hassan down. Assef’s buttock muscles clenching and unclenching, his hips thrusting back and forth. (page 116, “The Kite Runner”)
She also made as many parents aware of the situation as she could, even creating a form letter they could send to the superintendent and board on their behalf, but found few parents would use it.
“They didn’t want to make waves because they didn’t want their kids to be singled out,” Heinecke said. “Parents didn’t know what was in the book, but once they knew, they assumed if a teacher was putting their signature on it, the teacher knew best, instead of saying it’s my kid, it’s my choice. Making waves with teachers is intimidating.”
Standing Up For Kids Makes You a Cuss Word
In 2012, Lebanon, Oregon, mother of two Macey France began studying the nationwide implementation of Common Core. While looking through a document titled “Common Core Appendix B” that contained reading exemplars, Macey found the book, “The Bluest Eye” listed as an example of appropriate assigned literature for eleventh- and twelfth-grade students.*
France, a contributor to the website PolitiChicks, took to her keyboard and typed up a scathing condemnation of the book as not high-school appropriate, including quotes directly from the book, such as:
Pages 162-163: A bolt of desire ran down his genitals…and softening the lips of his anus…He wanted to fuck her—tenderly. But the tenderness would not hold. The tightness of her vagina was more than he could bear. His soul seemed to slip down his guts and fly out into her, and the gigantic thrust he made into her then provoked the only sound she made. Removing himself from her was so painful to him he cut it short and snatched his genitals out of the dry harbor of her vagina. She appeared to have fainted.
As a result, her article “Common Core-Approved Child Pornography” was viewed and shared hundreds of thousands of times and Macey was nominated for a CPAC blogger award for Best Sunlight Post of 2013.
“This is when I first became a ‘target’ for the progressives who support public education and minimize parental rights,” said France, who had a hard time understanding how her well-researched, truthful article could make her the target of the kind of emotional, hateful rhetoric she experienced. It frustrated her to be personally attacked for wanting to protect her kids. It also frustrated her to find many parents who weren’t concerned about their teens reading “The Bluest Eye” because they believed school officials knew more about what was best for their children than they did.
“I was called names, accused of being backwards, racist [Toni Morrison is a black woman], ignorant, a flat-earther, and even received private messages on Facebook telling me how hateful I was,” France said. “I was first introduced to the phrase ‘white privilege.’ At one point, I was called Hitler. I was misunderstood and accused of wanting to ban and burn books [even though] I went out of my way to convey that I am not an advocate for banning literature. I am a huge parental rights advocate. I got the distinct impression I was not supposed to question the manner in which they [educators] related to my kids.”
Book Burning and Protecting Kids Are Not the Same Thing
Although the mothers interviewed for this story were accused of book banning and censorship to some degree, nothing could be further from the truth. Laura Murphy began by asking the principal of her son’s school to identify the books on the book list that contained sexually explicit material. When he wouldn’t do that, Murphy sought the help of the state school board, which finally added verbiage to the school code ordering schools to “adopt policies and criteria” for “sensitive” or “controversial” materials. Even the Virginia legislature directs schools to create policies that allow parents to be notified about the use of sexually explicit literature in public schools, not ban their use.
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