Controversial Books From North Kansas City School Libraries

NORTH KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The North Kansas City School District says it has pulled two controversial books from its high school libraries after parents protest.

In response to what they call censorship, students started an online petition that has gathered hundreds of signatures.

“I am shocked and absolutely annoyed at what is happening in our school systems,” said James Richmond, the president of the Northland Parent Association.

Richmond spoke to the NKC School District last month about such books as George M. Johnson’s “All Boys Aren’t Blue” and Alison Bechdel’s “Fun Home.”

“All boys are not blue” has been in school libraries since September 2020. It is a series of personal essays that allegedly contain graphics of sexual acts between boys, including relatives, and about sexual abuse.

“Fun Home”, which has been in school libraries since September 2017, is a graphic memoir that allegedly features sexual acts between women.

“That’s not something a minor should have access to,” Richmond said.

Richmond said he speaks on behalf of the more than 400 parents who make up the NPA, which he says also looks at as many as 28 books in other school districts.

“I really just thought [pulling books off shelves] was ridiculous,” said Aurora Nicol, junior North Kansas City High School.

Nicol and senior Holland Duggan recently started the online petition, ‘Students against banning books in NKC District’. It had nearly 750 signatures on Tuesday night.

“I started a petition because I think this is in a library, no one is forced to read it,” Duggan said. “And I believe that every student, especially high school students, should have access to information and be able to choose what to read. “

They say they plan to take the petition and signatures to the next school board meeting.

In a statement, the North Kansas City School District said: “NKC Schools became aware of concerns about two books available in our high school libraries. The books in question come from each of our four high schools, while the district reviews the processes involved in selecting, checking out, and reviewing books. NKC Schools offers a diversity of books for students and strives for a diverse and fascinating collection. We always value and encourage community feedback as the families we serve are valuable partners in student success.”

“They haven’t really taken them out of the system, so the door is still open for them to put them back in,” Richmond said.

“If you buy a few books, they just keep asking for more, and what’s there to read?” said Nicole.

FOX4 spoke with the author of “Boys Aren’t Blue”, activist and journalist, George M. Johnson. He said his book is for young adults.

“Thinking keeping this particular text away will prevent the things that happened to me from happening to them, no,” Johnson said. “It just means they don’t have the knowledge or the education when those situations arise, which is why it belongs in those libraries.”

This isn’t the first time “All Boys Are Not Blue” has been on a school board’s agenda.

Last month, the Shawnee Mission School District changed the process for filing complaints about books after answering questions about the book.

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