Movement to ban books reaches Wisconsin schools, libraries

There's a movement across the country and in Wisconsin school districts to ban LGBTQ books from school libraries or restrict access to them.
Published: Jul. 13, 2022 at 10:19 PM CDT
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LUXEMBURG-CASCO, Wis. (WBAY) - Across the country, there is a movement to ban certain books from school libraries, or at least restrict access for younger students to them.

The issue has popped up at school boards in Wisconsin, with parents challenging books they see as sexually explicit and pornographic.

Rebecca Beaumia has children enrolled at Luxemburg-Casco schools.

During a Luxemburg-Casco School Board meeting held April 26, she revealed her son came home with a book called “Flamer” by Mike Curato.

“It’s a great coming of age book, but the actual words that are used and the sexually explicit nature of the book, to me has no place being in a public school setting,” Beaumia said.

The graphic novel chronicles a biracial student as he comes out as gay to his peers and gets bullied.

This was Beaumia’s second attempt with the district to ban the book. She says “Flamer” contains sexual content, curse words, and offensive language, including derogatory slurs.

“I had to teach my son vocabulary out of this book. My son doesn’t know what the word fa***** means and why it is not okay. I had to go through this,” Beaumia said.

The school board met in May and in a unanimous vote decided not to ban the book “Flamer,” keeping it in the school library.

“What any curriculum should be is thoughtful, give students something they don’t already have, and make them into what we may call critical democratic citizens,” Michael Apple said. He’s the John Bascom Professor of Curriculum and Instruction and Educational Policy Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Apple says the efforts to ban “Flamer” and other books centered around the LGBTQ+ experience are part of a well organized campaign.

He adds that “Flamer” is an award-winning book about acceptance and self-discovery.

“When we look at the statistics of suicide among bullied kids, we’re not just talking about censorship because parents don’t want that book. We’re talking about kids lives,” Apple said.

According to the American Library Association, there were 729 attempted bans last year to 1,597 books.

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