School board won’t make libraries remove explicit books

November 16, 2021 GMT

FREDERICKSBURG, Va. (AP) — A Virginia school board rescinded a directive for staff to pull books with “sexually explicit” books from libraries early Tuesday after hours of passionate public comment.

The Spotsylvania County school board voted 5-2 to reverse the order amid public backlash, but some board members said they’ll continue to take a stance against the inclusion of what they view as offensive material in school library books, The Free Lance-Star reported. Board members Rabih Abuismail and Kirk Twigg, who spoke of burning books at last week’s meeting, did not support the reversal.

“I think we should throw those books on the fire,” Abuismail said at the Nov. 8 school board meeting, while Twigg said many “would like to see the books before we burn them so we can identify within our community that we are eradicating this bad stuff.”

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Monday’s specially called meeting on the matter was held at the Chancellor High School auditorium to accommodate the large number of speakers expected. It stretched past midnight as dozens of parents, students, teachers and librarians spoke, most in support of libraries and books. Two speakers, both high school students, spoke in favor of removing books from library shelves. Comments were cut off at midnight.