A school district near Milwaukee has removed seven books that deal with LGBTQ+ themes from circulation in what critics call a coordinated far-right attack on Wisconsin schools.
Elmbrook School District, which includes the town of Brookfield, removed seven books from its school libraries, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinalreports.
According to the paper, the seven stricken books were Jessica Shirvington's Embrace, Perfect by Ellen Hopkins, Lauren Myracle's TTYL and The Infinite Moment of Us, Queer: The Ultimate LGBTQ Guide by Kathy Belge and Marke Biesche, as well as Traffick: The Sequel To Tricks by Ellen Hopkins, and Juno Dawson's This Book is Gay.
Republican state assembly member Jesse James spearheaded the removal of books from Wisconsin schools using a list he generated. James is not local to the Elmbrook School District, but the Journal Sentinal reports that the district's list is identical to James's.
Forty-five books are included on the list, mainly those that contain sexual content or have LGBTQ+ characters and subjects.
According to the Human Growth and Development section of the district's curriculum, "The District believes that a sound K-12 program of instruction in human growth and development will enhance the efforts of the family and facilitate the development of positive student self-esteem, a sense of personal responsibility, and the ability of students to make rational and intelligent decisions."
The online resource continues, "The District further believes that the information provided and the knowledge and skills acquired in this program will enable students to make decisions regarding their own attitudes and behavior that enhance the well-being of the individual, the family, and society."
A review of the school district's available classroom instruction and curriculum showed only one brief mention of sexual orientation and gender identity.
In eighth grade, in a section discussing self-esteem, the guidelines mention how to "communicate respectfully with and about people of all gender identities, gender expressions, and sexual orientations."
While no further details on the lesson are available, the stated goal is identical to language in a lesson plan called "I Am Who I Am", recommended for sixth and seventh-grade students by Advocates for Youth, a nonprofit organization that seeks to decrease HIV and sexual infection transmission through sexuality education.
The lack of additional information regarding LGBTQ+ matters in the school curriculum makes it unclear why library books on these subjects wouldn't be available to students seeking the information.