Diverse Classroom Libraries LCPS

The Loudoun County School Board has received both outspoken support and heavy criticism following the implementation of diverse classroom libraries in Loudoun County Public Schools this year.

“The diverse classroom libraries were created through the collaboration of LCPS teachers, librarians, administrators, and classroom book collection specialist teams trained to identify culturally responsive and diverse texts,” the LCPS English Language Arts web page reads. “Several criteria were considered including representation, authorship, relevance to students’ lives, authentic voice, and developmental appropriateness.”

According to a chart provided on the web page, the majority of titles — between 92 and 98 percent, depending on grade level — are categorized as being focused on “Diverse Race, Culture, Language, {and} Religion,” while 2 to 3 percent are marked “Disabilities/Abilities” and up to 5 percent of diverse titles are labeled “LGBTQ.”

However, a number of parents are concerned that the new collection uses the concept of diversity as a Trojan horse to slip in titles that contain age-inappropriate, sexually explicit content. Several participants in the public comment section of the School Board’s Sept. 24 meeting voiced these concerns, with some reciting sexually graphic passages from featured books.

Meeting attendee Natassia Grover cited a book available to seventh-graders — “Weird Girl and What’s His Name” by Meagan Brothers — which she described as portraying a relationship between a teenage boy and his middle-aged employer as “one of love, not abuse.”

“Erotic descriptions of sexual activity, including fondling, a kissing scene between three men, orgasms, masturbation and sexual intercourse are also included in the diverse classroom libraries,” Grover added. “Students are being deliberately exposed to this stuff. You have a duty to remove it.”

Such parent response prompted an Oct. 2 letter from American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia Executive Director Claire Guthrie Gastañaga addressed to Superintendent Eric Williams and School Board Chairman Jeff Morse (Dulles District). Guthrie Gastañaga urged LCPS to reject the removal of controversial titles from the new collection, citing the First Amendment to the Constitution to argue that elected officials do not have the right to ban “controversial, unpopular, or offensive” literary works.

“Purging certain books from school libraries because some parents do not like them is government action favoring the opinion of some parents over others,” Guthrie Gastañaga wrote. “In fact, bending to the will of any number of vocal parents could lead to a narrower and narrower list of books for students to read on a more and more homogeneous set of topics, adversely affecting the rights of those students and parents who want a more expansive and inclusive reading list from which to choose.”

She added that censoring unpopular titles contradicts LCPS’s goal of providing students with texts representing diverse cultures, identities and practices, and causes educators to “miss out on opportunities to engage in a dialogue about the historical period in which a book was written, the author’s individual viewpoints, and the use of literary devices, all of which may play a part in how a group or individual is depicted.”

Grover returned to the podium at Tuesday’s School Board meeting to address the issue alongside 13 other concerned citizens, most of whom favored removing books with what they believed to be age-inappropriate content. One speaker, Bradley Blinn, addressed Guthrie Gastañaga’s letter directly, claiming the ACLU’s stance fails to acknowledge the difference between the rights of adults and those of minors.

“The [United States Supreme] Court has acknowledged that the rights of minors are not equal to the rights of adults, considering the vulnerability of children, their immaturity and the importance of parents in child-rearing,” Blinn said. “At what point does educational value turn to sexual advocacy? My overarching concern is we are presenting this material to immature, vulnerable young kids without parental approval, formal notification or the ability to opt out.”

A couple of speakers vocalized support for the diverse libraries, including Laura Gray, a reading specialist at Park View High School.

“I have seen first-hand the power of providing diverse, independent-reading books to readers. They are the hardest titles to keep on the shelves. To succeed in twenty-first-century careers and society, LCPS students must learn to be both academically and culturally literate. It is never too early or too late to learn about different types of families, religions, cultures and people,” Gray said. “When we see someone like us, we feel less alone. When we encounter characters that are not like us, we learn compassion and understanding.”

Andrea Weiskopf, another speaker in favor of preserving diverse classroom libraries, held up a sign during Gray’s comments and her own, reading, “Where books are burned, in the end, people also will be burned.”

“Listening to diverse voices is the next step toward equity. Books can provide a way to listen and understand,” Weiskopf said, going on to recite potentially objectionable content in long-established school-assigned readings like William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” and “Twelfth Night.”

The School Board has not moved to initiate modifications to the diverse library collection.

(62) comments

Wahoowah

I'm dying to know how many people posting actually grew up here. I remember when Catcher in the Rye, As I Lay Dying, and The Awakening were banned books here. And I graduated in 1988. Banning books in this county is nothing new - you've been trying to shelter children for at least the last Century. Go somewhere else and be Amish. Your kids aren't even reading - stop fooling yourselves and take their video games away instead. That book you're afraid of isn't going to go make them shoot a school up. The video game they're playing will.


Virginia SGP

Says no research that ever existed (about the link between video games and violence in real life). The same is not true for drugs or dangerous sex practices.




amerigirl

My kids loved and still love video games and neither has ever done drugs. They don't make anyone do anything they didn't already want to do.


amerigirl

Neither do books


amerigirl

VA a Forbes study last Feb. showed there was no link between video games and violence. What does drug have to do with this article anyway?


Patriot1

I attended the first SB meeting where this issue was allowed to be addressed by concerned parents.  I have seen and read excerpts from certain "Diversity List" books that I simply can't believe are allowed in our K-12 classrooms.  There seems to be some sort of sick and twisted agenda to sexualize our kids from an early age, and influence them to embrace practices and lifestyles that may go contrary to teachings that their parents would approve of.  Proponents of these books deceptively wrap them in labels of "diversity", "equity", and "compassion", while forcing an acceptance or even the embracing of a variety of orientations and lifestyles (including pedophilia and trans sexuality), by exposing children to viewing pornographic illustrations, and reading descriptions of illicit sex acts.  All this is being pushed into the minds and classrooms of our children.  And to make matters worse, parents are purposely prevented from having a say in the matter by being denied the choice of opting their children out of being exposed to this garbage.


amerigirl

If they are really that bad you should sign up to speak at a SB meeting and read some of the excerpts aloud so they are on the record and ask to have those books banned. Just an idea.


md5

This program should be defunded and cast aside as the horrible pro-Socialist, anti-American plot that it is. How many books were purchased here? Let's see: 82,000 students / class size of 30 = 2733 rough count of classrooms, 1/7 being English classrooms = roughly 390 English classes in Loudoun. Minumum 300 titles per grade and minimum $15 per title, the low side is $1.7Million. How much did Eric Williams spend on the Diversity Advisory board that he hired to tell Loudoun County is full of "raaaaaaacists"? At my kids' middle school, they don't have enough money for text books. And that ACLU lawyer's argument about "government action favoring the opinion of some parents over others"...IS EXACTLY what they did to push through the completely unscientific Synthetic-Gender** protection nonsense. If the ideas in these diverse reading collections are so great, stop hiding behind a bureaucratic laborious parental dispute process.







You go right on ahead pushing that pendulum harder and harder, brain-washed Leftists. Your morally corrupt, intellectually dishonest and cowardly attacks on America will backfire.







**transgender isn't a thing. I call them Synth-Men and Synth-Women.


amerigirl

You really have a bias view on America. Allowing freedoms is an anti-American plot. Also, a minimum of $15 a book. I don’t think so. Your figure is a stab in the dark. I guess this county is full of racist and bigots when you have parents that make fun of kids because of their sexual orientation. Call people that don’t agree with you brain-washed Leftists that are morally corrupt, intellectually dishonest and cowardly. What are you alt-right? You hate is unwarranted. Get over yourself


LetFreedomRing

Disgusting attempt by the Left to push their agenda and indoctrinate our children to accept perversion and sexual deviance as “normal.” Why are parents not given the choice to opt-in and allow LCPS to expose our children to this explicit and inappropriate material? Why the hell doesn’t LCPS allow the parents to educate their own children about sexual immorality and alternative sexual lifestyles?


amerigirl

So if there is anything that you object to then those people are on the left? I suppose you think the entire school system is left. Time to stop blaming anything you don't like on people you don't like , it was done by the school system, not the left.


Loudoun4Trump

Libraries have always been diverse....this is just labeling by the left to empower one group over another and a sick attempt to divide like they always do....


amerigirl

Always "the left", regardless if it is politics, teachers or anything. Like that statement alone isn't divisive. More hate compliments of the right.


Virginia SGP

So did you just say "the right" was using hateful rhetoric by mentioning "the left"? Pot, meet kettle.


amerigirl

Virginia, “So did you just say "the right" was using hateful rhetoric by mentioning "the left"? NO I did not. I said LetFreedomRing blames everything on the left, regardless of if it’s political or not. Like assuming that all the librarians and schools are left, therefore when he (she) doesn’t like something, anything it is immediately blamed on the left. But you were sure quick to put me down for something that you mistook. Is that a sign of guilt?


Virginia SGP

Have you gone insane? It is the political left that are driving this effort to put alternative lifestyles in student classrooms. To suggest otherwise is ridiculous. Can you do me a favor? One day in your life - just one day - try to be honest. Can you do that?


CindyLou

Ok, now, that's not true with the "Left" comment. I NEVER think Libraries should be censored.


Virginia SGP

CinyLou, you don't really mean that. You would not allow terrorist how-to books in libraries. You would not allow the most egregious pornographic videos and magazines in libraries. Once you acknowledge there are some books you would not allow, then you are censoring.







Libraries cannot hold every book. Simply choosing which books are included is partly a political choice. Whether it is the gov't itself or the librarians, somebody is making a value choice.







Can we at least agree that the set of books appropriate for a kids' library is different than the set of books in a general library?


amerigirl

Maybe it's easier for you to blame who you don't like for anything you don't like . Maybe you should actually take a poll and see what their politics are. The left is just your scapegoat. It's so much easier to be able to blame people you disagree with than to get to the truth.


Pre-yuppieLoudouner

Thanks Obama!


amerigirl

[offtopic] But I think I heard him say "you're welcome".


Wahoowah

Meanwhile your 6, 7, 8 year olds etc. are busy on their iPads, and iPhones and computers seeing things far worse. Or busy playing Fortnite or other video games where they shoot up people. And you’re worried about a book.


Waterfordresident

Wahoowah...yes, because it’s funded by taxpayers. Everything you mentioned are the failures of parents. What goes on in their homes are none of our business. When it comes to tax funded classrooms...I have a problem. Just another reason our country is drastically behind others in education. But hey keep having your kids major in worthless liberal arts degrees and complain about income inequality.


amerigirl

You think academic subjects such as literature, philosophy, mathematics, and social and physical sciences are worthless? If it wasn't for liberal arts we wouldn't even have teachers.


Lawman

BTW Brian if you are so smart, then run for office. I am sure someone with your enormous intellect can convince more than three people to vote for you.


tolerantleft

What a racist statement.


amerigirl

How?


Virginia SGP

Pretty sure he meant the statement below this one instead of the one above.


Lawman

For all you folks who thought moving to Loudoun would be your white Christian conservative Mayberry, oh well. Welcome to the new real world. If your helicopter can’t cover what your kids may read, then move to Utah or Idaho. We ain’t going back to the 1950’s when it was so cool to be white.








DavisB

funny to read all the comment from all the snowflakes who are outrage there are books out that that tell stories about people and topics they don't like


Thetruthhurts

The ACLU is an anarchist organization. Their membership should be outed and



properly 're-educated.'


amerigirl

Spoken from someone who doesn't support civil liberties or equality. Must be a white male.
















TomPaine

Commence the clutching of pearls and sheltering the children from the real world. Tweens and teens need to know what real world relationships and situations are out there. If your kids have access to the Internet they are already seeing things WAY worse than any young adult literature is going to show them. Let them learn about adulthood in a structured and mature way or you'll see real rebellion and acting out in unhealthy ways when they leave your little bubble. That is what real parenting is about.


Virginia SGP

So 11-yr-olds should go browse and read books about 40-somethings raping teenagers? I guess some LCPS teachers actually perform those acts so you just appear to support grooming them.







Parents can know what their kids are doing and talk to them about it. But not when books that are R-rated are pushed on kids without parents'basement knowledge. What other perverse acts should we "talk to our kids about" just in case LCPS pushes it on kids without our knowledge? LSD/PCP use books from the 60's and 70's? Child soldier/torture books? Violent rape books?







Please do tell us what all we should talk to a 10 or 11 year old about. You know, the kids who still get scared at PG-13 movies.


amerigirl

Can you name one of the books that does that or is this post basically fear mongering?


Virginia SGP

Did you listen to the speakers? They read passages about a teenager pining for his 40-something affair partner. Exhibit 1.


More Cowbell

We have met the enemy and it's our leaders.... Clearly there is a disconnect. Really think it's time to clean house of everyone that is considered a Superintendent at LCPS, Loudoun County School Board and BOS.


RoundHillGuy

In March the inclusion secret police to ensure that ours kids are properly indoctrinated.


amerigirl

Are you deep state?


Momof6

My children who are in school are minors. Which places are these books? Are they in a section of their own or mixed in with the other books? As a parent, I am allowed to say yes or no to what my minor children have access to. A waiver for each one of these needs to have a parent approved signed consent form on file. Each waiver needs to have an explanation and citations on where a parent can read the text their minor children will be exposed to. And, a child with permission sharing with others who don't have consent should have consequences inline with bringing inappropriate items to school. Even, if shared out of school, since it's school property. This is not a 1st amendment issue or 1984, parents who want their kids to have this crap are free to get it from Amazon.


tolerantleft

Incorrect. The government schools own your children and will duly indoctrinated by the communist left. You have no say lest you be called a racist and “non-inclusive.” Sorry to break it to you.


amerigirl

WOW [scared] I mean really? That is probably the most outrageous conspiracy theory I have heard yet.


jke

WTH, is this what passes for diversity I see porn!


amerigirl

Are you on your way to check it out?


CindyLou

We seen porn everyday from our President.


Chris McHale

Grabbing my popcorn to watch the fun on this one.


amerigirl

Slide over and can you share he popcorn?


Starrgirl

Since when is pornography ok at any age


tolerantleft

Don’t worry. AG will research in google and tell you.


amerigirl

whoa another conspiracy theory, you are really on a roll!


LoudounClear

Would be instructive if the parents who object to the introduction of reality in our schools would say what age they think is appropriate for these materials. Knowing that, we'd have some idea whether their concerns are about age or something else entirely.


LetSanityPrevail

What is clear is there was no community input by parents about what titles were selected. One could legitimately ask if those selecting these books have an agenda as well. This could be addressed by a parent/educator committee to come up with recommendations, but I imagine this would not be acceptable to the LCPS administration.


Virginia SGP

I heard 3 main points made by the speaker:







1. Underage kids (17 or less) should not have sexually graphic books thrust upon them. Most of the books were placed in middle schools which means the kids were 11-14. If kids cannot watch an R rated movie without an adult, why are R-rated books given to 11-yr-olds.







2. Illegal relationships should not be encourageduch less glorified. Several books talked about pedophiles - 40-somethings having sex with kids in the midterms. That would get the 40-yr-old arrested so why are we providing books that celebrate it and encourage kids to engage in it? I have spoken before about whether NAMBLA (North American Man-Boy Love Association and yes it is as bad as it sounds) would be normalized and protected because they can't help they are "different". This has come to pass. The folks with the agenda are now working to normalize pedophilia with our kids.







3. The family life education teaches safe sex and encourages kids to consider abstinence. Many books in this program glorify unprotected sex and clearly are not consistent with the FLE curriculum. Will kids do their own thing? Yes. Should parents have some say in what is being taught to their underage kids? Most absolutely believe so.







The board members were embarrassed by the text but most will defend this agenda till the end. The sad part is that many pushing this agenda feel horrible about themselves and do virtually anything to get attention, to feel alive and not ignored. You see them alter their bodies with color or drawings or piercings. I am sure some of this is for aesthetic reasons. But most of the time they feel ignored and try everything "alternative" to get noticed. Trying to tempt depressed kids into an alternative lifestyle to prey upon them is contemptible.


Qwertyuiop

Which books glorify any of the things you’ve listed?


DavisB

"tempting depressed kids into an alternative lifestyle" - apparently you don't know how kids actually work


Good Guy

Yup


amerigirl

Name those books!


Momof6

This comment is nonsensical and looking to pick a fight. Go get a therapist


Virginia SGP

When you cannot respond with any facts or logic, you tell the other person to get a therapist? Are you a product of LCPS schooling? Such a shame.


DavisB

"When you cannot respond with any facts or logic..." - VA SPG - do you not read your own personal attacks on me and everyone else who, even slightly, vary from your opinions?




Virginia SGP

Says DavisB who has yet to post a single comment on this website with any facts or logic.




DavisB

Like I said...


Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.