Delaware School Board Eliminates Summer Reading List Over Lesbian Content

In one Delaware school district, officials say it's safer to forgo summer reading assignments altogether than expose teens to queer characters.

BY Mitch Kellaway

August 13 2014 6:14 AM ET

Following complaints by parents in June, the Cape Henlopen School Board voted to strike Emily M. Danforth's lesbian-themed YA novel, The Miseducation of Cameron Post from the annual summer reading assignment for incoming freshman, reports The New Civil Rights Movement.

Board members justified their decision by citing the book's use of profanity, but many, including Danforth, say the move was homophobic censorship.

To add insult to injury, the book — which was included based on a recommendation list from the Delaware Library Association — was originally removed without the board enacting its established due process. According to Delaware Online, the ACLU called the board out for not properly notifying the public before it voted to removed the book, which violated its own policies and state laws.

It wasn't until Danforth and other grassroots supporters drew attention to the fact that several other books on the list — including John Green's The Fault in Our Stars and Rainbow Rowell's Eleanor and Park — contain swears, that the board opted, this week, to remove the list altogether.

In the aftermath of the controversial decision, concerned citizens have reacted with outrage that the school board isn't using literature as a way to challenge students and introduce them to a range of subjects.

"The administrators did their job and provided a diverse list," Rob Spicer, the parent of a gay Cape Henlopen student, told Delaware Online, referring to the decision as a "cop out." "The school board abdicated their responsibility, because the heat in the kitchen was too hot for them."

Tags: Books, Women, Youth

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