NEWTOWN, Conn. — The Newtown Board of Education voted unanimously to keep two books on the shelves of the Newtown High School library that some have called controversial after weeks of debate.
The board was considering removing the books “Flamer” by Mike Curato and “Blankets” by Craig Thompson both have LGBTQ+ themes. After weeks of intense debate, the board voted unanimously to keep the books on the High School Library shelves.
The board cited after listening to constituents, students, and the recommendation of experts hired by the board to evaluate the books. The challenge comes as many books with LGBTQ+ content have books have been perceived as containing “pornographic material” by some conservative groups across the country.
Douglas Lord, the President of the Connecticut Library Association said the two books that caused divisive debate were rarely checked out of the High School library.
“There are two titles one has been checked out once fairly recently, and the other one was not checked out at all since it has been in the library,” said Lord.
Janet Kuzma and Jenn Larkin, two Republican board members resigned Wednesday citing safety concerns for them and their families after recent events including the May 16 board meeting where there were some physical outbursts made toward board members.
Students who spoke in favor of keeping the books told FOX61 they were pleased with the board’s decision.
“I’m happy that the books are staying, I hope that this trend will continue,” said Joseph Crosby, a Senior at Newtown High School.
Another student said they hope the community can begin to unite after weeks of debate.
“I’m happy we came to a decision finally this has been a very heavy toll on the community, I’ve never seen Newtown so divided and stressed about a heavy decision frankly,” said El Glassman, a Senior at Newtown High School.
Before adjourning, members of the Board of Education expressed interest in creating a policy on how to approach book challenges in school libraries going forward.
As for the vacancies on the Board of Education, the Newtown Republican Committee will have 45 days to appoint two individuals to the board until a special election can be held in November for a two-year term.
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