The Orange County School Board in Florida removed a speaker from Tuesday’s board meeting for using vulgar language after the person read a passage from a sexually explicit book that is available in high schools’ libraries.
In a video recorded by Alicia Farrant, a member of the Orange County chapter of Moms for Liberty, board chairwoman Teresa Jacobs can be seen directing police officers to remove the speaker as he read an excerpt from Gender Queer: A Memoir.
“I’m going to read a passage of a book that’s floating around in your schools that has been banned from many other schools,” said Jacob Engels, the speaker who was removed, according to Orange Observer. “As a member of the LGBT community, the fact that this is floating around for children as young as ninth grade is concerning.”
Engels read a scene from the book that described sexual acts using strap-on devices before Jacobs interjected.
“Sir,” she said. “Mr. Engels, you’re out of order. . . . Remove him from the chambers.”
Jacobs continued: “I understand that book is in the classroom, and the language he just read is inappropriate for this forum. . . . I understand the contradiction here. This is the first time I’ve heard of this and the board has heard of this. We will look into it, and I do hope the book is removed. OK? And if not, we’ll be back here having this conversation again, but I can guarantee you, I did not know that book was in the library.”
Orange County Public Schools director of media relations Shari Bobinski told Orange Observer that the school board had been unaware that the book was available in the school libraries. Bobinski said there were four copies of the book in three of the district’s 22 high schools.
“At this time, the book is not on library shelves and is under review,” the statement added. “If anyone has a concern about materials or books found in our media centers or in our classrooms, Orange County Public Schools has a process in place for parents or guardians to submit a form to the school principal to address a concern.”
Gender Queer: A Memoir caused a similar stir in Virginia this week when local Virginia TV stations refused to air an ad depicting the same sexually explicit scene that Engels read, citing federal law that prohibits airing pornographic images.
Independent Women’s Voice created the 30-second ad, titled “Worth 1,000 Words,” to show adults what content is available to students in several Virginia districts, including Fairfax, Loudon, and Arlington, according to IWV.
“It’s shocking that images, and even some words, that federal law prohibits TV stations to share with adults are the same images being shared with Virginia students with no accountability,” said IWV vice president of communications Victoria Coley.
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