Montgomery County parent raises concerns over book policy following ‘inappropriate’ book found in school library

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Va. – A Montgomery County parent is raising concerns over the suggestive nature of some books in school libraries.

This comes after the parent read a sexually explicit passed from a book found in their child’s school library during this week’s school board meeting.

“This should not be in our libraries and there are several more,” said the parent when addressing the school board on Tuesday.

The book she is referring to is called “Flamer.”

It’s a book by Mike Curato that is about a teenage boy coming to terms with his body image and sexuality.

The parent read parts of the book to the school board to demonstrate that she believes the book is inappropriate.

“Well inappropriate is in the eye of the beholder,” said Doloris Vest, owner of Book No Further in Roanoke.

Vest’s bookstore is known for selling banned books.

10 News went to Vest to ask what she knows about the book, “Flamer.”

“The target age of the book is 14 to 18. That’s not a naïve age. It’s a coming-of-age story. Which is probably the most popular theme you have anywhere,” said Vest.

According to Montgomery County’s policy manual, school librarians are in charge of book selection.

In the school library policy, there is also a line that address stocking the library with inclusive material.

MCPS libraries will support the MCPS Strategic Plan and its beliefs and objectives of a diverse, equitable and inclusive learning environment.

MCPS School Libraries policy

“Books are an easy way for any young person to explore an idea whether they are comfortable or uncomfortable with,” said Vest.

MCPS Spokesperson Brenda Drake released a statement to 10 News a statement in response to concerns over the district’s book policy.

“Families have the opportunity to challenge and request reconsideration of library materials when they perceive objectionable content.”

Brenda Drake, MCPS Spokesperson

The process to challenge library materials can be found in the district’s policy — in a form titled “Challenge of Controversial Instructional Material Form.”

But Vest warns, challenging or trying to ban books only brings more attention to them.

“If you try and suppress an idea all you are doing is giving it publicity,” she said.

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