Saying that Kara Bell was a bit upset at board members of the Lake Travis Independent School District in Austin, Texas, is a bit of an understatement.
No, Bell — a local mom and former board member candidate — was livid during the school board meeting last week over a middle school library book she deemed sexually explicit, KXAN-TV reported.
Image source: KXAN-TV video screenshot
And watching video of Bell reading a passage from the book to the board, some might be inclined to argue that she's on to something.
"Take her out back, we boys figured, then hand on the t***ies, put it in her cornbox, put it in her cornhole, grab a hold of that braid, rub that calico," she recited to the board, before adding, "You can find that on page 39 of the book called 'Out of Darkness,' which you can find at Hudson Bend Middle School and Bee Cave Middle School."
"Out of Darkness" is a 2015 young adult novel by Ashley Hope Pérez, the station said.
Bell continued, "All right, not gonna lie, had to Google 'cornhole' because I have the game in the back of my yard. But according to Wikipedia, 'cornhole' is a sexual slang vulgarism for anus. The term came into ... use in the 1910s in the United States ... its verb form 'to cornhole,' which came into usage in the 1930s, means to have anal sex."
Image source: KXAN-TV video screenshot
Then she blasted the board members: "I do not want my children to learn about anal sex in middle school! I've never had anal sex! I don't want to have anal sex! I don't want my kids having anal sex! I want you to start focusing on education and not public health!"
At that point Bell's microphone was cut off, but her school board takedown can still be heard on video: "You are not public health officials; you are supposed to be educating our children! Do not teach them about anal sex!"
Here's the clip of Bell going off. Content warning: Language:
What happened next?
The school district told KXAN the book in question was removed from both middle school libraries and that its contents will be reviewed.
"A district possesses significant discretion to determine the content of its school libraries," the district spokesperson told the station, citing school board policy. "A district must, however, exercise its discretion in a manner consistent with the First Amendment."
The spokesperson added to KXAN that the "district shall not remove materials from a library for the purpose of denying students access to ideas with which the district disagrees. A district may remove materials, because they are pervasively vulgar or based solely upon the educational suitability of the books in question."
The district told the station it doesn't know how long the review of the book will take.
What is the book about?
The station said "Out of Darkness" is about a love affair between a black boy and a Mexican-American girl amid a 1937 explosion in East Texas that killed nearly 300 schoolchildren and teachers, citing an NBC News article published just after the book was released.
Jonathan Friedman of Pen America, which KXAN said is a nonprofit that "defends diversity, inclusion and free expression in literature," told the station that many books with sexually explicit content have holistic value that includes diverse viewpoints and exposing young people to the realities of the world.
"Central Texas is one among many areas in the country that have become hotspots for these eruptions of local anger and disagreement," Friedman added to KXAN. "I think to pretend books that deal explicitly with sex or sexual assault are in some way a threat to young people are doing them a disservice. This is about having access for young people to a wide variety of literature that people from different backgrounds are reflected in."
Friedman also took direct aim at moms and dads, telling the station that "you have a small contingent in many cases of parents who decide that they disagree, and that they must know better than those who are in the classroom."