VIRGINIA BEACH — Virginia Beach Public Schools will remove some titles from library shelves after citizens complained they were inappropriate for children. The other titles will remain after committee review.
“Lucky” by Alice Sebold and “Triangles” by Ellen Hopkins will be removed. “The Haters” by Jesse Andrews and “Tilt” by Ellen Hopkins will remain, as recommended by the review boards.
Becky Hay, a Virginia Beach parent, submitted requests for reconsideration for “Lucky,” “Triangles” and “The Haters” in May, describing what she called sexually explicit content and violence. His request for “Triangles” described the book as having “highly descriptive sexual passages relating to same-sex attraction, sadomasochism, and extramarital affairs, which is highly inappropriate for many, if not most teenagers.”
She received a letter from Director of Studies Kipp Rogers in July stating that the titles had been reviewed by a committee. According to Rogers’ letter, “Lucky” and “Triangles” were determined to be “no longer age appropriate”. Books will be removed from all libraries.
Rogers highlighted key points raised by the review board that were used to support keeping “The Haters” as an “elective choice read for high school library students.” The committee noted that the book is a coming-of-age story and “appeals to teenagers” due to the point of view.
The panel also highlighted how the characters often reflect on their actions and journeys. As an example, “a character reflects on how he treated himself badly by using drugs. The drug scene also showed how things can go wrong when using drugs.
The committee student said she thought the book also reflected how students speak in school, according to the letter.
Likewise, a letter sent to another relative in Virginia Beach who submitted a “Tilt” request justified keeping the book. The committee found that the book was written in “poetic verse,” which appeals to struggling readers.
A parent on the committee shared that the book allowed him to have conversations with his child about what happens to the characters and said “it’s easier to talk about fictional characters than real teenagers.”
According to the letter, the committee student said, “This book does not put a rose-tinted film in the world and it provides community for students going through difficult situations.”
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The committee also noted statistics and resources for those who might need help at the end of the book.
Citizens of Virginia Beach submitted five reconsideration requests in May for books they deemed “pornographic” and inappropriate for school libraries.
Parents and citizens of Virginia Beach have come forward at school board meetings to say that parents should have a say in the types of reading material their children are exposed to and have complained about several books they deem “pornographic”.
The debate on this issue is ongoing throughout Virginia and across the country. In Virginia Beach, the debate over books like Maia Kobabe’s “Gender Queer: A Memoir” and Sarah J. Maas’s “A Court of Mist and Fury” has made its way to Virginia Beach Circuit Court, where petitioners hope obtain books deemed obscene for children and restrict access to titles and books like them.
Students First VA, a Virginia Beach political action committee with which school board member Victoria Manning is connected, shared Rogers’ letters on social media and said the group would continue to fight “porn trafficking.” ” in schools. Comments on the posts expressed their displeasure with the decision to keep “The Haters” and “Tilt.”
A reconsideration request for Ellen Hopkins’ “Tricks” was submitted in May around the same time as those four books. As of Thursday, no decision had been made on whether the book would remain in libraries.
Kelsey Kendall, [email protected]