ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Whoever sent the email Wednesday with the bomb threat to Hilton School District expressed anger over a book that’s accessible to students called “This Book is Gay.”
This comes as a number of local school districts have received complaints about material offered in their library. The letter targeting Hilton schools suggested those at the district “allow and encourage children to read sexual content such as ‘This Book is Gay.'”
Hilton School District received a bomb threat yesterday that claimed it was in response to a book in their library. They’re one school district of many both in our region and nationwide to have some community members question books in their libraries.
Pittsford community member Sherry Downey read this line from a book called “Girl in Translation” last month where she was concerned about sexually explicit content.
“He kissed me and I stopped breathing. He was filled with need.”
Superintendent Dr. Kevin McGowan says some of Brighton’s books have also been questioned. He says some address LGBTQ+ issues and serve a valuable purpose.
“I think it’s essential that children have access to the books that they see themselves in and their humanity in. And that children find community in that.”
And McGowan says each school district had their own process for responding to these kinds of concerns and questions. He says for them, they listen to the complaint and work to understand where the other person is coming from. Then they read the materials available and talk to librarians and teachers teaching units where the texts are involved to understand the whole picture.
While some community members may see issues with certain books based on content, McGowan says it’s important to know where these books are available and who they are being offered to as well. He says many of these books are in their library alone, not part of the curriculum.
“I think sometimes there’s misunderstandings and frankly some falsehoods that are spread about some of these issues. These are texts that the kids have access to through the library system, again as a high school student. Elementary students wouldn’t have access to the book in our case.”
We’ve also reached out to local groups Fairport Educational Alliance and Moms for Liberty of Monroe County for response but have yet to hear back.
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