Editor: Francine Works makes a number of false statements in her Nov. 7 Letter to the Editor that need to be addressed and corrected.
1. The “Diversity Books” purchased by LCPS that are being protested by hundreds of parents are not shelved randomly in the public school libraries, as Francine stated. They were delivered directly to classrooms. This is an important detail. LCPS clearly wanted to bypass the library and place these books right in classrooms where there would be a greater chance of having them picked up and read.
2. The books in question are not “great literature.” We are not talking about Shakespeare, Mark Twain or “To Kill a Mockingbird.” We’re not talking about classics that deal discretely and carefully with weighty issues. What we are talking about are books that contain graphic and gratuitous sexual descriptions of predatory adult/child sex, rape, and profanity aimed at arousing the reader. If one’s idea of “great literature” is Joan Collins or “Fifty Shades of Grey,” then these books would certainly fit the bill.
3. Yes, there’s provocative content in Shakespeare’s plays – if one understands ribald humor in obsolete Old English slang. But the books in dispute here contain graphic content in very clear modern English that is outside the bounds of what’s allowed to be discussed in FLE as well as profanity not allowed to be used in LCPS classrooms.
4. The books were not selected “with great thought and care.” Instead, LCPS simply requested “diversity books” from a vendor, placed a $1.9 million order, and never read, reviewed or vetted any of the books upon delivery. Teachers received shipments of the books right before the start of school and were ordered to put them on their shelves.
5. The only point Francine got right is that it’s not the job of LCPS schools to parent my children. I completely agree. LCPS has overstepped its bounds. I’m the one who should teach my kids about sex. I’m the one who should decide at what age they are ready to discuss controversial topics. And I’m the one who’s sitting here wondering why LCPS thinks it has the right to usurp parental rights and put books aimed at sexualizing children right in their classrooms and expose them to adult/child sex, rape and profanity in the name of “diversity.”
Amy Paul, Leesburg