Lawn Boy, a sexually explicit novel reported by a Winters Mill High School parent late last year, was ultimately pulled from bookshelves by superintendent Lockard after the book reconsideration committee met and voted to retain the book.
The parent was first made aware of the committee’s decision to retain the book in December. She then exercised her right to appeal the decision to Dr. Lockard, who was given 30 days to respond. The final decision was then shared by Angela McCauslin, Director of Curriculum and Instruction.
“I agree with the Reconsideration Committee that Lawn Boy has literary value as a novel,” explained McCauslin. “However, a high school media center serves students at various maturation levels…Ultimately, I am persuaded that the graphic sexual language and descriptions of sexual activity that appear at various points in the novel, coupled with the much more liberal use of profanity and sexually derogatory language throughout, make this novel inappropriate for general circulation in school media centers.”
The book will be set aside and available to minors with parent permission.
The Winters Mill mom was generally pleased with the decision but frustrated with the process.
“I think this was a good compromise, but why did this have to go all the way up to the superintendent? How do books like this become generally available in school libraries in the first place?”
The news of Lawn Boy follows another recent decision made by the reconsideration committee to keep Graceling, another book containing a sex scene, in middle school libraries. This decision was also reversed by Lockard and Graceling will not be on middle school shelves.
Concerned Parents of Carroll County and Moms for Liberty have called for improved standards to prevent unwanted exposure of inappropriate materials to children in the public school arena, an issue many parents feel could be prevented at the book selection stage.
Left-leaning Board of Education candidates Amanda Jozkowski and Tom Scanlan have pushed back against parent calls for improved library standards, claiming that such changes would undermine “academic freedom” and invite “unnecessary attention”.
Jozkowski, Scanlan and some on social media have characterized efforts to improve media center standards as “book banning”, but parents argue they just want to ensure the selected books are age appropriate for the students who have access to those materials. Students enter elementary school as young as 4, middle school as young as 11, and high school as young as 14.