HILTON, N.Y. (WROC) — After a week now of bomb threats and disruption at Hilton Schools over the book “This Book is Gay”, parents took to the podium Tuesday to voice their concerns to the school board, and safety going forward.
Amanda Rathbone said she was there Tuesday night for answers. “I just want to know what they’re doing to keep our kids safe. I don’t feel safe sending my kid to school.”
Rathbone of course referring to the bomb threats regarding “This Book is Gay”— a book some are claiming is inappropriate for teens to read. Like this Hilton parent
“You’re LUCKY I’m being this respectful. Like it’s sick. It’s sick,” he said to the board. He started to use foul language and the board had to call a recess to remind the public about proper protocol.
Yet, Tuesday, it seemed many came out in support of the text.
“My concern is banning books,” said Joseph Urban. He said that’s exactly what some groups of people are talking about. “Teachers, superintendents, those are the ones who should be making those decisions,” he said.
His wife Betsy also weighed in with News 8 saying, “We have two grandsons and I want them to go to a school district that gives them a secular education.”
And others spoke about their own LGBTQIA-plus children, and how books like this have value. Peter Caffrey —without supporting or opposing “This Book is Gay”— said this:
“I think it’s important that we open our minds and realize that we need to start educating the kids to they are not afraid of being who they are,” said Caffrey.
Dave Karpowich wants to hear more on safety protocols in the district when it comes to threats.
“It’s a shame that somebody took it upon themselves to disrupt the education for three days at least,” he said.
The superintendent told the crowd the board has met with first responders to improve plans going forward for future bomb threats. Specifics were not detailed at the meeting. Those bomb threat emails are now being investigated by multiple agencies.
To be clear, the school district said to News 8 the book has NOT been banned, but a community member has submitted a request for a review of the book. The school said the process has not begun yet.