An Orange County, California, school district has suspended its digital library application after complaints by parents that children in the second grade were accessing books they found to be inappropriate.
The school district's new superintendent, Edward Velasquez, announced that the district would be temporarily shutting down the service, called Sora, which allows users to borrow ebooks and audiobooks from a school's library.
One parent found the book called "A Polar Bear in Love" on her second-grade child's app, called "Library Pass," which came on a school-issued iPad.
"The entire manga is about a polar bear who falls in love with a seal," a review of the book states. The male seal pup does not share the same feelings toward the adult bear, however.
In the book, a female polar bear falls in love with the male bear, but is jealous of the baby seal because it is "the object of [the male bear's] affections."
The synopsis also describes the bear telling the seal "that once the latter's all grown up, they'll get married together."
"The moment I saw him, he stole my heart," a video of the animated polar bear shows.
Another parent took issue with a book called "The Music of What Happens," from which she heard swear words "f**k" and "s**t" from the audiobook her second-grade child was listening to. The book, which is about a gay relationship between two high school boys, also discusses rape and details a sexual assault.
A synopsis from the website GoodReads.com describes one of the main characters: "Max: Chill. Sports. Video games. Gay and not a big deal, not to him, not to his mom, not to his buddies. And a secret: An encounter with an older kid that makes it hard to breathe, one that he doesn't want to think about, ever."
The superintendent sent a message to parents about the app, saying such programs "must have the proper safeguards in place to allow parents to choose what they feel is appropriate for their child and ensure students are protected from content that is not age-appropriate."
“Moving forward, a committee will be formed to review app content before apps are approved for installation on student devices," the school official added.
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