- December 8, 2021
Twenty books that are on school library shelves in Flagler County have been challenged between Oct. 6 and Oct. 19, according to a school district document.
Four different individuals have requested books be removed from the shelves. Three of the individuals are listed on the Flagler County Chapter of Moms for Liberty website as part of the chapter's leadership team. Chapter Chair Shannon Rambow is among the individuals challenging the books.
The reasons for the challenges ranged from explicit sexual descriptions and references to sexual activity, teenage pregnancy, sexual assault and child molestation to excessive violence and profanity, sensationalizing illegal drug use and underage drinking, racism and "references to alternate genders."
The reasons cited for the challenges ranged from explicit sexual descriptions and references to sexual activity, teenage pregnancy, sexual assault and child molestation to excessive violence and profanity, sensationalizing illegal drug use and underage drinking, racism and "references to alternate genders."
All of the challenges include page numbers, and in many cases citations, of the objectionable material.
Rambow; Terri McDonald, the chapter's School Board coordinator; and Christine Glancy, the chapter's secretary; were among the four challengers. They did not immediately return phone calls or emails from the Observer seeking comment.
Many of the challenges did not include names of authors or publishers. A few of the challenges could not be found on Flagler Schools' web-based catalog for media center resources or were not listed at the school the challenge cited.
Most of the challenges were for books on the library shelves at Matanzas High School and Flagler Palm Coast High School. "The Upside of Unrequited" by Becky Albertalli was challenged for Buddy Taylor Middle School and FPC, but was not listed in the Buddy Taylor catalog.
"Tilt," by Ellen Hopkins was challenged for both high schools but was listed only in FPC's catalog. "Push," by Sapphire, was not listed for either high school in which it was challenged. "Crank," by Hopkins, was challenged for Matanzas and Indian Trails Middle School but was listed only in the Matanzas catalog. "The Court of Mist & Fury" and "Dreaming in Cuban" were challenged for FPC but was not listed in the school's catalog.
"Lucky," a memoir by Alice Sebold, describing her brutal sexual assault, is not listed in either high school's catalog. Scribner stopped publishing and distributing the 1999 book after the person convicted of the crime was exonerated after serving 16 years in prison.
"The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian," by Sherman Alexie was challenged for Indian Trails Middle School and FPC, but is not listed in FPC's catalog. "L8R G8R," by Lauren Myracle was challenged for Indian Trails but is not listed in the school's catalog.
"Sold," a novel by Patricia McCormick is a fictional story about a young girl from Nepal who is sold into sexual slavery, told from the girl's point of view. The book, which is in the libraries at Matanzas and FPC, was challenged for containing "explicit aberrant sexual activities including rape of a minor; prostitution; and explicit violence."
On her website, McCormick said she "interviewed women of Calcutta’s red-light district and girls who have been rescued from the sex trade" to research her book. She said she was inspired to write the novel after meeting a photographer who documented young girls working in brothels overseas.
All of the challenges were for library books only, not instructional materials. They were challenged for individual schools. The district's challenge document was generated as a result of new state requirements for media center and instructional material challenges, School Board Attorney Kristy Gavin said.
Each challenge will be reviewed by the individual school's media specialist, Gavin said. If the media specialist decides the book does meet criteria to remain on the shelf, it will then be reviewed by the school's full media center committee.
Gavin said some of the books have been on the shelves for years and have not been reviewed for some time. Each challenge will be reviewed by the individual school's media specialist, she said. If the media specialist decides the book does meet criteria to remain on the shelf, it will then be reviewed by the school's full media center committee.
If the committee decides the book meets guidelines, the challenge can then be elevated to the district level, Gavin added. A district media review committee would review the book. If the committee decides to keep the book on the shelves, the challenger would have 30 days to make a written appeal to Superintendent Cathy Mittelstadt.
If Mittelstadt does not overturn the committee's decision, the challenger would then have 10 days to make an appeal to the School Board, Gavin said.
School Board member Jill Woolbright's book challenges went through the process on the district level last year. Mittelstadt overturned the committee's recommendation to return "All Boys Aren't Blue" to the libraries.
Here is a list of the 20 books that have been challenged:
1. Sold, Patricia McCormick
2. The upside of Unrequited, Becky Albertalli
3. Lucky, Alice Seybold
4. Push, Sapphire
5. Tilt, Ellen Hopkins
6. Crank, Ellen Hopkins
7. Thirteen Reasons Why, Jay Asher
8. The Truth About Alice, Jennifer Mathieu
9. The Nowhere Girls, Amy Lynn Reed
10. Last Night at the Telegraph Club, Malinda Lo
11. The Black Flamingo, Dean Atta
12. Breathless, Jennifer Niven
13. A Court of Mist & Fury, Sarah J. Maas
14. Damsel, Elana K. Arnold
15. The Haters – Jesse Andrews
16. What Girls Are Made of, Elan K. Arnold
17. Dreaming in Cuban, Christina Garcia
18. Me & Earl and the Dying Gir1, Jesse Andrews
19. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian, Sherman Alexie
20. LG8R G8R, Lauren Myracle