Billings School Board votes to keep controversial books dealing with LGBTQ+ issues | Local News

Contested books are first discussed with a librarian or teacher if reading is a duty. Most disagreements are resolved at this level or are resolved in discussion with the school principal.

In addition to asking a number of questions about the books by policy, the council focused on the works as a whole rather than the controversial parts in question. They also weighed educational value, existing district policies, and state and federal laws.

“I don’t like these images,” board member Russell Hall said. “But then I saw the rest of the book. I saw enough to recognize someone in a really difficult situation…all I can imagine is that there are young people in our schools and they don’t know where to turn.”

Much of the discussion highlighted the need to support LGBTQ students, but that the issue would also hopefully be discussed in the same terms if heterosexual sex scenes were depicted instead.

Neighborhood libraries only checked out “Lawn Boy” twice and “Gender Queer” eight times.

Following the parent’s complaint, a review committee consisting of a building administrator, a parent, a teacher and a librarian from schools other than those in question recommended that the two books remain in secondary libraries.

About Stuart M. McFarland

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