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School Board candidates respond to question on sexually explicit books

What are your thoughts on parents who want sexually explicit books out of the school system?

Bridges: “If they’re sexually explicit, they don’t need to be there — take ‘em out. I don’t think books should be allowed for younger students that have to do with sex, gender, things of that nature.”

Absher: “I don’t have an issue with parents asking for a book to be removed. I think if there’s a book that’s brought to the attention of school administration, I think it needs to be brought up in public eye. When the banned book list came out, we were tasked by our commissioners to re-evaluate our books in our library. And we found maybe three of those banned books were actually in the children’s section and we immediately moved them from that section and put them under adult-restricted section. I think there’s a proper way of doing it without causing a ruckus.”

Revis: “The majority of our students that we serve are actually minors; only a small percentage of our students are 18. I don’t think sexually explicit books have any place in any of our libraries. I’m very conservative and old-fashioned. I think we can have literature without having vulgar language. It doesn’t have to be about sex; it could be many topics. I just think we have to remember that there’s a fine line between censorship and making sure we keep our children focusing on literature that is appropriate for their age.”

Kustin: “I’m against censorship and for quality, age appropriate curriculum for sure. Our teachers do a wonderful job doing that and I trust they will continue. I agree it’s important to put the appropriate books in the appropriate section. I’m very concerned that some people speak out and say that there’s smut and pornography in our schools and they hide behind that and start to erase our marginalized and vulnerable communities, erasing history and erasing their experiences. Not all books are comfortable to read. People’s experiences are hard. People have tough things that happen to them and they persevere and they go through that. It is important for kids to be able to see their own experiences reflected in literature. If you start censoring and banning books you go down the slippery slope of what the Nazis did.”

Campbell: “First of all, I don’t believe that any sexual content needs to be in any of our school libraries, period. Our kids have enough access to that (via the internet). Our kids need books. It’s sad to say they don’t even learn from books anymore. We don’t even have textbooks in our classrooms. … Our children don’t need that (sexually oriented content). There are plenty of public libraries with access to those books. There are plenty of quality books and stories and adventures that children can have access to. And while I understand that there are some things that are historically uncomfortable — absolutely, they need to learn history all across the board — the good, bad and ugly. But when you have a book that is historically accurate that is pertaining to sexual adventures, they don’t need to be reading that. If you could not read it at a school board meeting it should not be in the schools.”

Brown: “It isn’t a teacher’s job, it isn’t a librarian’s job to teach sexuality or sexual orientation. It’s the parents’ job based on their religion and their philosophy. They already have access to technology, (conversations) between their friends and everything that’s going on. I don’t want to add another layer to that so I am not in favor of adding sexually explicit books in their classrooms.”