Virginia Beach School Board Removes ‘Gender Queer’ from Libraries; Other Books Stay
May 13, 2022 | Virginia
Virginia Beach School Board Chair Carolyn Rye is directing staff to remove Gender Queer: A Memoir from school libraries, following the recommendation of a work group.
“I think the removal of this book is a win for parents and students,” board member Victoria Manning told The Virginia Star.
In December, Manning flagged the book for review over graphic content, along with three others: Lawn Boy, A Lesson Before Dying, and Toni Morrison novel The Bluest Eye. The district also reviewed Good Trouble: Lessons from the Civil Rights Playbook and Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out, which Manning flagged because they might have violated the district’s equity policy, according to 10 on Your Side.
In a January 28 report, Chief Academic Officer Kipp Rogers summarized the result of six separate review committees, one for each book, composed of students, parents, and staff. In all cases, the committees recommended keeping the books in libraries. The Bluest Eye and A Lesson Before Dying can also be used as supplemental classroom material.
One committee member considering Gender Queer originally did not want to keep the book in school libraries due to content, but changed their mind after a high school student spoke about how the book could help “students who struggle with self-identity.”
Rogers’ report states:
“The Chief Academic Officer and Superintendent had concerns about some of the graphic depictions in the book Gender Queer; however, the concerns did not warrant removal of the book from school libraries for student voluntary checkout. The rationale for keeping Gender Queer in circulation for voluntary checkout was:
•The library book was secured by schools following the criteria outlined in VBCPS Policy 6-61.
•The book already exists in some high school libraries as a choice option for students to check out.
•A committee reviewed the book and recommended keeping it as an option for voluntary checkout for high school students…. (Excerpt from The Virginia Star)