Letter: Francine Works, Leesburg

Editor:  Mr. Henshaw [Letters, Nov. 8] should be careful about his requests. He, “would suggest that a first step to restoring trust with parents could be for the School Board to direct that all school library networks be configured to notify a parent by email or SMS message any time a student checks out any book containing graphic content.” 

Let’s start with the word, “graphic” shall we.

This word is far too nebulous to assist the wonderful librarians we have throughout the Loudoun County Public School libraries. They are, undoubtedly underpaid and their resources would be insufficient for such a request. First, they would be left with the task of deciding what Mr. Henshaw or anyone opposing the books in question means by “graphic.” That is where Mr. Henshaw’s suggestion puts himself in a corner. How does he suppose they decide? What resources do they use to set up such a configuration? When does he suppose they do this? The whenis not as important as the how.

And then, back to my point of parents being in charge of their kids. Parents who share their values with their children, the values I heard so many speakers mention at the latest school board meeting, should have no worries in what their children choose to read because they would have set the tone.

Now, I am not naïve enough to believe that all children would respect their parents’ wishes. That would be ludicrous.

Freedom of choice is the issue here.

Parents who wish to deny students access to books because they deem them too, “graphic,” place their values on all of the students who attend our schools. Why should they be denied the freedom to access any book they choose to read? These books are not a mandatory part of the curriculum but rather cover topics that some students may be interested in such as things having to do with gender identity, relationships, culture, and the age-old topic of teen angst. Would Mr. Henshaw suggest that the Bible be removed? Shakespeare? Greek Mythology?

Francine Works, Leesburg

3 thoughts on “Letter: Francine Works, Leesburg

  • 2019-11-18 at 12:47 pm
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    I suggest we notify parents EVERY TIME a child checks out a book from the LCPS libraries. In fact, since we as the parents are responsible for those books in case they are damaged or lost, we NEED to be informed of what books the children are taking out. I can definitely foresee a point where my child will check out a book, will bring it home and lose it somewhere, and I will have never been the wiser that the book was even checked out. Ms. Works will undoubtedly respond with “parent your child” but in the same breath will argue that parents prying into their children’s library book decisions are “denying their freedom”. You can’t have it both ways Ms. Works. You either grant children full autonomy over their school lives, or you demand that parents take an active role in their children’s school lives. I can’t parent my child without being made aware of what their library checkouts are, in order to be fiscally responsible for said books when they are damaged or lost.

    One positive benefit of notifying parents of every library check out is that when parents notice books they may question, it can encourage discussion between the parents and children about their choices, and perhaps lead to the very discussions necessary for children (and parents) to gain understanding and acceptance of differing beliefs.

    Finally, Ms. Works, please get off your high horse about parents stifling their children’s freedoms. We as parents strive to teach our children right from wrong. One key point in that discussion is the concept of LAWS and what is and is not legal in this country. One of these books, in particular, discusses actions between individuals that are expressly ILLEGAL in our country, in this situation, sexual relations between an adult (over 18) and a minor (under 18). I, as a parent, who is attempting to “parent my child” as you so demand we do, REFUSE to allow my children to read books that encourage ILLEGAL sexual relations. I would hope that you, as a law-abiding (I would hope) citizen of our country, are not encouraging children (and adults) to engage in ILLEGAL activities such as those found in these books. Your defense of these books sounds very much as if you are.

  • 2019-11-18 at 11:13 pm
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    Great letter Francine!

    I remember showing my parents the books I checked out of the library when I was in school. That’s how I shared what I found interesting. I couldn’t imagine hiding my interests, or being ashamed of anything I was reading.

    How sad would it be to have the government assume that children are hiding “dark secrets” [books] from their parents. And worse, to require a government funded “middle person” to monitor and report on students daily activities. There’s a better, old fashioned way. Talk to your children.

    I’d like less government, please. Leave families alone. Parents and children have rights, including the right to visit the library without being molested by busy bodies.

  • 2019-11-19 at 8:16 pm
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    I would also like less government. So I wish LCPS would leave parenting up to parents and stop overstepping their bounds. Students do not have the “freedom to choose” R-rated movies in school. Which means they should also not be allowed to choose R-rated books from their classroom shelves. I have a feeling if more parents were aware of the graphic content of the books from the so-called “Diversity” collection, this debate would be over. The proponents of these books keep saying that “kids need to see themselves in books.” Based on the content of some of them (adult males having sex with under-age male, six-year old describing enjoyment of oral sex, rape of minor girl in graphic “she’s enjoying it” detail) I’d sure hope any adult who thought a kid might “see themselves” in these pages would get them counseling instead.

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