Fayetteville AR controversy over sexually explicit books
Dr. Warren ThrockmortonWarren Throckmorton, PhD is Associate Professor of Psychology and Fellow for Psychology and Public Policy at Grove City College (PA). He co-founded the Golden Rule Pledge which advocates bullying prevention in evangelical churches. His academic articles have been published by journals of the American Psychological Association and he is past president of the American Mental Health Counselors Association. He is the author with fellow Grove City College professor, Michael Coulter, of the book, Getting Jefferson Right: Fact Checking Claims About Our Third President. Over 200 newspapers have published his columns. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 2005 Jul 24
This is a developing story and is already pretty big in Arkansas. As I said in the Agape Press article below, I cannot understand what educational value these books have. I remember in helping with child abuse investigations in Southern Ohio, perpretrators would give material such as is in these books in order to groom kids for a sexual advance. I don't care what your political ideology is, I would hope we could get to some common ground on removing sexually explicit material from public schools.
Arkansas Parents Uncover Volumes of Vile Literature in School Libraries
By Jim Brown July 22, 2005
(AgapePress) - An Arkansas mother who succeeded in getting three sexually explicit books removed from Fayetteville school libraries says she has found there are more than a hundred books of that nature in the school district. Now a mental health counselor is recommending a parental audit of all the books in the city's school libraries.
According to a search conducted by Fayetteville mom Laurie Taylor, out of 502 books listed under "sex" in the city's middle, junior high, and high school libraries, there are 66 books on sex instruction, and 32 of those are on child sex instruction. Another 75 of the books deal with homosexuality, 23 fall under the category of lesbian fiction, 16 are on rape, 9 on incest, and there are even some books on bestiality.
Taylor and other concerned mothers and fathers are calling area school officials on the carpet for allowing books filled with profanity and gratuitous sex to remain on the shelves in the city's schools. The group has asked Superintendent Bobby New and school board members to restrict students' access to the materials. Meanwhile, Taylor and other parents have begun reviewing the libraries' collections and are providing a summary of some of the shocking and offensive content they have found on the "http://www.wpaag.org/" website.
"The majority of these ... are fiction books," the Arkansas mom notes, "so there's no educational value in them outside of the fact that they're literary -- and I hesitate when I say 'works' -- but they're literary works that have been put into our library system to, in my opinion, desensitize and indoctrinate our kids to thinking that sex with whoever, whenever, whatever you want to is okay."
Taylor points out that, although the bulk of these books are actually in the middle school and above, in Fayetteville any child in the entire county -- which covers several school districts -- can access any book from the library. "And here's the terrible thing," she adds; after choosing a possibly inappropriate book from any of the libraries, boys and girls can "have it delivered to their home school without their parents' consent or knowledge."
So far, Taylor says, "irresponsible" Fayetteville school officials have refused to address the issue, at least until school resumes. The National Coalition Against Censorship and other left-wing groups have written a letter to Superintendent New and the school board, urging them to resist removing or imposing a parental consent requirement on the sexually explicit books.
Mental Health Expert Appalled by School Libraries' Explicit Literature
Grove City College professor and psychologist Dr. Warren Throckmorton says he, too, is appalled by the content of scores of books on human sexuality in Fayetteville's school libraries. After reviewing just a portion of literature, the noted sexual orientation researcher and mental health counselor says he found the literary value of many offensive books to be of insufficient weight to overlook their sexually explicit content.
"We're talking not just about descriptions of sexual thoughts or feelings," Throckmorton says, "and certainly we're not talking about any kind of sexual education material. What we're talking about are things that are problems in schools, such as adult-child sexual relationships."
The psychology expert notes one particularly egregious example in particular, a book called Doing It by Melvin Burgess. In it, he says, "there's a description of a boy who has a sexual relationship with his teacher. He doesn't tell the authorities."
Another book to which Throckmorton took especial offense was Rainbow Boys by Alex Sanchez, which features a threesome of boys who believe they are homosexuals. "One of them has unprotected sex with an adult that he met through a Gay-Straight Alliance [club]," the mental health counselor says. And these kinds of books, he points out, "are touted as being recommended books by groups like the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network, or GLSEN. And they're in these libraries. I don't understand what educational purpose [books like] this could possibly have to be in a school library."
Dr. Throckmorton says it is important to remember, researchers warn that kids who are exposed to sexually explicit material -- whether it be in books or on television -- are more inclined to engage in sexual activity. He feels an audit should be made of the books currently included in the Fayetteville School Libraries, to be conducted by a broad committee of parents in the school system