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Michigan school board votes to remove book containing sexual illustrations from school library
Spring Lake Public School Board President Jennifer Nicles (Image Source: WOOD-TV video screenshot)

Michigan school board votes to remove book containing sexual illustrations from school library

On Monday, a Michigan school board finalized a controversial vote to remove a graphic novel from a high school library.

Parents on the Spring Lake Public School Board decided that a book about gender and sexuality, which included graphic illustrations, was too explicit for high school students.

The book in question was a memoir titled "Gender Queer" by Maia Kobabe. The graphic novel is described as a "useful and touching guide on gender identity."

Those on the school board who voted to remove the comic book noted that they did not take issue with the LGBTQ+ themes, but they did find the comic illustrations showing graphic sexual content inappropriate for young audiences.

The school board's decision reversed a previous decision by the district's Material Review Committee in May to keep the book available to high school students.

According to a letter written by the superintendent to parents, the committee determined that "maintaining the book served a greater interest (combating isolation, affirming a child's reality) than restricting access or removing the book altogether."

On Monday, Chris Beck, a school board member, voted to remove the book but proposed an exception to make the novel available through a school counselor, social worker, or school psychologist with parental consent.

He noted that, while he was concerned about the graphic images, he was also worried that completely removing the book would give rise to a "slippery slope" of book banning and felt the exception would be a suitable compromise.

Jennifer Nicles, the school board president, explained during the meeting that while reviewing images from the book at home, she was concerned her 12-year-old son would walk into the room and see the inappropriate content.

"The pictures were uncomfortable," said Nicles. "I did not like them. I do understand people's concern as to what those pictures are. I also understand the importance of the book itself. I'm torn. I see good, and I see reservations."

Nicles noted that she believed there was "a lot of good" in the book but shared the other board members' concerns about the graphic imagery. She voted to ban the book from the library and recommended the board move forward with Beck's exception but remove the requirement for parental consent.

"My concern is if you have a student who can't talk to their parent and is not ready to come out and have this discussion," Nicles said.

Katie Pigott, one of three board members who voted to keep the graphic novel, noted that she believes the book is crucial for the LGBTQ+ community at the school.

"The truth is our LGBTQ+ students may be fighting and struggling for much of their lives," said Pigott. "They need these books like they need oxygen. Especially given the notable scarcity of out role models in this community. Look around. But more than that, they need our affirmation, especially right now."

The board ultimately voted 4-3 to remove the book from the library's shelves but decided to enact the exception proposed by Beck and make it available to students with parental consent.

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Candace Hathaway

Candace Hathaway

Candace Hathaway is a staff writer for Blaze News.
@candace_phx →