North Penn parents slam school board for books
TOWAMENCIN – Parents again took aim at the North Penn School Board on Thursday night, denigrating the board for books they say do not belong to schools.
“Does hearing these words make you uncomfortable as an adult?” How do you think that makes a child feel? I actually have a stomach ache, thinking my child could go to one of the libraries in that neighborhood and pick it up, ”said Parent Carrie Rocks.
During a lengthy school board meeting at North Penn High School on Thursday night, Rocks and a handful of parents read for the board excerpts from books they claimed to have recently found in schools in the district – excerpts which have triggered a content warning on the district’s NPTV channel. video of the meeting.
As she spoke, Rocks introduced herself as a mother of four from Upper Gwynedd, then showed enlarged photos of pages from “Gender Queer,” a graphic novel addressing the gender identity she claimed. ” be in high school “. As she showed the pages describing sexual acts and read excerpts that included words probably never spoken before at a school board meeting, she questioned the board.
“Who made the decision to accept this?” I know for a fact that this list of books must have fallen on one of your desks, to approve. Is it your intention to groom our children? Who took it upon themselves to steal their innocence? ” she said.
“Just because you think we’ve only been paying attention for six months doesn’t mean we’re blind to what’s going on. It is a constant roadblock of your terrible policies and the mismanagement of our schools that have pushed us to a tipping point. You are Satan’s pawns for me right now. You’re all disgusting, ”Rocks said.
Vicki Flannery of North Wales gave a similar warning before reading excerpts from ‘Not All Boys Are Blue’, a book she claimed ‘until this week resided in the Elementary Library of Oak Park. This book was taken down because of one of our parents.
Flannery then read excerpts from this book depicting sexual acts, before aiming at the painting.
“Do any of you, any of you, find this book that describes a sexual encounter and rape acceptable to any minor, regardless of gender or sexual orientation?” Because I don’t find it acceptable at all, ”she said.
“A child is a child, and if you find that acceptable, you belong to a national registry, not a school board,” Flannery said.
Parent Ken Ferry of Hatfield gave a similar warning before reading explicit excerpts from a book called “Lawn Boy” which he claims to have found at Penndale Middle School.
“Going to school board meetings to keep abreast of our children’s school education and hold academics to account was once what was called good parenting. Today it is called domestic terrorism, ”he said.
“No one is intimidating you. We are not national terrorists. We are taxpaying citizens and worried parents who hold you accountable because you work for us. We don’t work for you, ”Ferry said.
Jason Lanier of Lansdale questioned the board’s choices of books and classroom courses teaching what he called “Critical Race Theory” and said he had developed a list of books in schools that ‘he considered objectionable based on their lessons on racial and sexual matters.
“Why do you have these books in the schools?” Why are you implementing this kind of thing in schools? Why do you seek to divide the children into sections or groups and then combine them with each other, so that one group feels better and another feels less? How does this benefit someone? ” he said.
“There are a whole bunch of books in our libraries that really have nothing to do with there. A bunch of them talk about critical breed theory and how good it is. A bunch of them talk about very sexually explicit content, ”Lanier said.
For about an hour of public commentary at the start of the meeting, then another half hour at the end after other board business, about 60-70 parents and residents watched the meeting in person in high school, with the NPTV livestream. hovering around 100 additional viewers at times. As they spoke, several parents from the “Moms for Liberty” local wore matching t-shirts that read “We’re not co-parenting with the government” or “Let’s go Brandon”, while others shared their thoughts.
Alexis Drolet said she recently took district cultural competency training and learned valuable lessons, including that of a black speaker at a seminar she said was “mistaken for the hired aide, where she was in fact the keynote speaker.
“It moved me deeply and reminded me quite strongly that I walk around every day with a privilege that I haven’t earned. It didn’t make me feel bad about myself, but it opened my eyes to the experience of someone who isn’t like me, ”she said.
Hatfield’s David Schuetz thanked the board “for the way you’ve behaved, in the face of some pretty despicable abuse” from the community, regarding their handling of COVID-19 in schools over the past two years.
“What you have done for all of us, what you have done for me and my family, despite the abuse you have suffered, is simply heroic. You are all heroes in my book, ”he said.
Kunbi Rudnick said she has two daughters at North Penn schools and responded to the comments which included Bible verses in their remarks.
“For the rest of you who keep quoting the Bible as if you were the only Christians in the room: Matthew 25-40, ‘Whatever you do to the least of my brethren, you will do to me.’ You should go read these five verses, between 40 and 45, and go back to your Lord, who is the same Lord that I serve, and explain to Him why it is appropriate for you to come here, quote His Bible, and “treat others.” human beings in the same way. Shame on you all, ”she said.
Residents were also targeted during public comments: Donna Ross of Montgomery Township thanked the board for their mask and COVID decisions, and “for ignoring false outrages, such as those of people in the public as “Moms for Freedom,” a group of paid agitators backed by billionaires and the Koch brothers.
These comments prompted cries of protest from that group and a direct response from Crystal Sackel of Lansdale: “Someone came here and said ‘Moms for Liberty’ was being paid, and God, I wish we could. let’s get paid, but unfortunately no, we’re just worried moms.
“Unfortunately, a lot of people have heard on TV, radio, grocery store, intercom, we are constantly brainwashed by propaganda, on one side. And the last time I checked, that’s not America’s goal, ”she said.
Council members did not respond directly to residents’ comments, beyond asking commentators to remain civilians and advising that their time had expired. After comments were completed, board member Christian Fusco asked Deputy Superintendent Todd Bauer to respond to the allegations about the book in Oak Park.
“I have looked at this, and I will say that I was as surprised as everyone in the room by what was read by Mrs Flannery. I understand the librarian has read this book, it is no longer on the shelves, it was never signed, and although I believe it was purchased with the best of intentions, the librarian ruled that this book was inappropriate, ”Bauer said.
Several audience members then started yelling at council that they were down, then walked out of the meeting as council chairwoman Tina Stoll called on district security staff to make sure that they leave.
In response to questions sent by The journalist after the meeting, district spokeswoman Christine Liberaski said Monday that “Not All Boys Are Blue” was in the Oak Park library for five months in the 2020-21 school year, but has never been verified by a student.
“Through an investigation into the case, it was found that the book was commissioned after being researched and recommended as useful reading material for students struggling with identity. After reviewing the book in August, he was taken out of circulation (not last week as wrongly reported) in elementary school due to his inappropriate development for this age group. It was never read by the student librarian, ”she said.
As for the other books mentioned by parents, “Gender Queer” “was commissioned for the North Penn High School Library but was never put into circulation and therefore was never withdrawn” and “Lawn Boy “Was at Penndale Middle School and is not in circulation,” she said, adding the following statement:
“Until a recent policy change, approval beyond the building level was not required for the purchase of library books. Books have always been chosen to complement the school curriculum and meet the needs of each school, using recommendations to librarians and research to guide selection. The policy change will improve consistency across all of our schools and provide additional support to the decision-making process.
“Last week it was brought to our attention that books were ordered for some libraries in our schools which contain material not suitable for children and have upset some of our families. In some cases, but not all, these books were available to students. NPSD apologizes for the range of emotions this situation has caused and wants to assure the community that we are taking the necessary steps to address everyone’s concerns.
“The controversy surrounding the subject matter and language used in books found in public libraries is not new and is not isolated from our community. Discussions are always difficult as people have different opinions on what is acceptable and appropriate, especially in this ever-changing society. Reading and access to books is extremely important to the North Penn School District and this community, and students are encouraged to take advantage of the 18 NPSD libraries.
The North Penn School Board will then meet at 7 p.m. on November 9 at the District Education Services Center, 401 E. Hancock St. For more information, visit www.NPenn.org.