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Via press release from We the People 2:

Amid rising concerns of sexually-explicit materials being disseminated in Howard County public schools, a group of parents gathered on Wednesday, November 17, 2021 to file police reports against the Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) and the Howard County Board of Education. Several dozen parents gathered at the Howard County Police Department-Southern District to file reports on pornography involving graphic sexual content and materials being used and disseminated in public schools.

Parents contend that many of the sexually-explicit materials are in violation of Maryland Criminal Code § 11-203 and § 11-207, and Maryland Code of Education § 23-506-1 [statutes that pertain to the use and dissemination of pornography to minors]. They each filed separate police reports to initiate investigations of who authorized the dissemination of these materials in Howard County public schools. The materials in question feature graphic depictions and descriptions of sexual acts involving child characters.

The news of sexually-explicit materials has been a topic of much discussion via local social media pages in addition to a November 9th forum organized on parent voices and school curriculum. To date, there has been little to no discussion by the Howard County Board of Education on these materials, much less on who authorized their use and dissemination.

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Kim Yoon, a concerned parent who filed a police report, notes, “Our kids should not be subjected to this form of sexual harrasment, which creates a hostile learning environment and forces them to sit through discussions with child pornography.”

Lynn Morgan further noted, “As a parent, it deeply concerns me that the Howard County Public School Systes is allowing materials that give a green light to physical abuse, sexual abuse, and child pornography. Are these the norms and values that we want to have our schools promote with our children?”

The meeting was, in part, organized by a Maryland-based nonpartisan group, We the People 2, consisting mostly of concerned parents from Howard, Carroll, and Anne Arundel counties.

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Scott E

43 COMMENTS

  1. Your readers should know what We the People 2 is. It is a right wing “Christian” group which opposed vaccinations and mask requirements. They do not represent the values of most Howard County residents. The group also seeks to white wash (pun intended) the teaching of history in our schools. Quite simply, they would like to model Howard County on Alabama. Do we really want our schools to educate at the level of Alabama (or Texas or Mississippi) schools?

      • Look at their web site. They are right wing, they oppose vaccination and mask requirements and they purport to be “Christian.” No lie there.

        • Stephen Alpern is absolutely correct.
          Here’s the website: https://www.wethepeople2.com/

          They are a bunch of religious kooks, spreading vaccine mis-information and trying to force their wacky views on others. American Taliban.

          Hopefully HoCo will take appropriate action against those who filed a criminal police report to try to get books banned. That is an egregious abuse of our legal system and waste of law enforcement resources.

          • To your point, this country was founded by “religious kooks”. Our Constitution has made this the best nation in history. But, the way you guys describe Howard County now, it seems you wouldn’t want these “religious kooks” here, or even leaders who came before us…George Washington or Abraham Lincoln or George Washington Carver….Martin Luther King…..Harriet Beecher Stowe….and millions more.

            And bringing attention to our multi-culturalism, I dare say that people from other nations have come here exactly because of the kind of country these “religious kooks” have given to us. They didn’t have a Constitution like ours, or they would have been glad to stay home. The immigrants that I have met want America to keep its high standards and they say that’s why they came here. We welcome all the beautiful cultures they bring, but we can still all together keep the values of the Constitution. The people I’ve met want to join us in giving the best to our kids, instead of teaching them to become morally bankrupt.

            Freedom only works if it’s freedom to do GOOD. Freedom to do anything is laughable to any thinking person. Try having a home like that where the kids are free to do anything, with no boundaries.

            I’d like to raise the bar for our kids, give them ideas for greatness, and moral strength, rather than dripping constant messages that break down their innocence. Shouldn’t we point them to the highest and best in civilization…..help them shoot for the stars?

            Many people here are basically defending the porn books by saying that our kids are not innocent anymore, anyway….look at what’s on their computers and the movies from Hollywood and the shows on cable tv. But I say that adults have done this to them. And, why? Is it that the adults don’t want the values themselves? Are you saying that you don’t have “right and wrong” written in your own souls?

            Yes, it’s “happening everywhere”, but do you ever draw the line? Why not say “not here….not with my/our kids”? Why wouldn’t you give them a bastion of moral strength? Can’t we let them wait til they become adults to see what else is out there? What earthly good will come out of allowing ninth graders to think about oral sex?

            So…..I ask….”ok, once we degrade everything in our culture, where do we go from here?”. You think our kids will rise to be the very best that they can be, once all their values are trashed? We’re talking about graphic depicted sex, in the “art form” of a comic book….you think we’re in danger of turning our kids into Puritans, once that is introduced?

            If you want to porn taught to our children, then you are on the side of the fence with pedophilia, abuse and beastiality…..all cousins in the same family. This is the religion of “tolerance”…..where everything is tolerated….”you do you”….nothing is right or wrong. We condone everything.

            If you really want to lower the bar for our kids, maybe you can have clubs for that elsewhere, and do that outside of our public schools. The schools should point to the highest values, not the lowest. They could well fill up the school days with the 3 R’s, so that the next generation can lead the way…..instead of wallow in the mud. ~. Yes, Howard County schools have been among the best, but you really think that will continue? What civilization has ever been great, once it introduced all this?

            It is also a fact that breaking down a nation’s morals and identity makes it ripe for an enemy takeover. Some of our enemies have become very bold recently, I’m sure you have noticed. This ok with you?

            And, not to mention that distributing pornography is a criminal act, if nothing else will persuade you.

            And look, I am 99% sure that many will laugh at my thoughts….mocking and scorn are your main tools….laughing at them, instead of considering that what I say here might be truth. Twisting what I am saying….a frequent tactic these days. But for the sake of our children, this is where I stand.

          • @LibertyMe I do not laugh at you or your thoughts; actually, they concern me deeply.

            There is an important distinction between “religious” and “religious kooks”. The leaders you mentioned: George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, etc. were religious but were not kooks. They lived their religion through exemplary behavior, charity and sacrifice; they did not try to force their religious views on others. Religious tolerance is exactly why our country was founded, what our Constitution was written to enshrine, and what HoCo is all about.

            In that spirit, you are entitled to prevent your kids from reading whatever you want. However, you are NOT entitled to control what MY kids can read. Who should decide what books belong in a school library: HoCo’s professional educators or a group of religious and unqualified parents. We have among the best schools in the nation; I trust the educators there to select appropriate reading materials for school libraries.

            If you don’t want your child to check those books out, then by all means tell them not to. The reality is that there are LGBTQ kids. They already suffer immensely due to the hatred and bigotry propagated mainly by religious zealots. The schools are making an effort to accommodate those kids as much as they accommodate straight kids. Tolerance is a good thing.

            Books won’t make kids gay or straight nor will they get them interested in sex…teenagers already have hormones that guarantee that interest. You calling any description of sexuality that you don’t like “pornography” doesn’t make it so. Literature has long included romance and sex because that’s part of the human experience. It’s not going to “steal their innocence”, and I trust the educators of HoCo to ensure that the content of those books is age-appropriate and good for the kids who choose to read it.

            Respectfully, I’m not a child psychiatrist or a professional educator, and unless you are, neither of us is qualified to make those judgements, particularly not for others’ kids.

          • I’m worried that these children will also be exposed to and traumatized by depictions of incest, rape, and homosexuality all present in part of a book known as the Old Testament.

      • Prove it! I don’t trust ANYTHING that comes from this group. You think we are going to lay over and play dead like Loudoun County? Think Again. Thank GOD for school board districts. At least we won’t have a board of education filled with at large wackos.

  2. Were these materials used for a sex education or health classes? I am doubtful that the Howard County School System wound sanction the use of pornography, unless it was used for art or education purposes.

    • These are books in school libraries, not health class. We are all shocked that these books ever got into our school libraries and even more shocked that the school board refused to remove them. If you are able to access this public Facebook Group “Howard County Neighbors United” there is some discussion of this article as well as some screenshots of some of the books they are talking about

  3. The primary source materials in question is a graphic novel by Maia Kobabe titled Gender Queer where three panels depict what the main character IMAGINES what oral looks like (in some of the most simplistic/implied renderings I’ve seen as an art educator teaching high school) as well a book titled Lawn Boy by Gary Paulsen where the main character is trying to make sense of an sexual experience that took place when he was young. Both books are only available ONLY at the High School level and while Lawn Boy does utilize graphic language, neither depict anything that our High Schoolers aren’t fully familiar with just from watching teen shows on the CW.

    The primary issue that this group seems to have with these books is the fact that the main characters are LGBTQ+ identifying. If Stephen King’s It, a book where all the main characters have sex with the one female main in order to defeat the monster, can sit on our High School bookshelves I don’t see why Gender Queer and Lawn Boy can’t do the same, especially as these books serve to help students validate and reaffirm their own identities.

    • Yet they outlaw Dr. Suess and To Kill a Mockingbird but it is okay to subject minors about sexual acts of others. A high school student is still a minor. Many parents prefer their children remain to keep their virginity. These books serve no value at all.

      • Mealy, you really are a prat.

        No one outlawed Dr. Seuss. The publisher made the decision to stop printing a number of titles that were not culturally sensitive. Some places pulled the books initially because due to scarcity, their value became hyper inflated for a short period of time. Before you comment, maybe you should do some actual research.

        No one is banning To Kill a Mockingbird. That book is standard in thousands of reading curriculums across the country.

        And if you think parents have control over whether their children retain their virginity, you really are a special kind of useless. Young adult books that deal with challenging topics that scare you are your problem. In truth, they help many teens work through their own complex emotions and should be allowed to stay. They are on the verge of adulthood and need all the help they can get in processing the world they are transitioning to.

    • Thank you Alex! As a concerned parent in We the People 2, I’m dismayed by the comments slandering our group. While we do the best we can to protect our kids, we also aren’t perfect and definitely could have missed a few books. I will be sure to bring up adding It to our complaint at our next meeting. If you know of any other sexually explicit books in HCPSS school libraries we would love to hear about them.

  4. As documented in the HoCo Watchdogs blog (and available online), the We the People 2 meeting began with this:

    “We are doing God’s work….because Marxism, and homosexuality, and this transgenderism…….it’s the devil. And we must fight to protect the children because they are our future. So we’re doing God’s work….Amen?”

    We the People 2 can argue they are nonpartisan, but it’s clear they align with a far right agenda.

    As for the topic at hand, from what I have read elsewhere, these are library books. No one is being coerced into going to the library, finding the right shelf, pulling out to book, and looking at the images. As for the works themselves, it is true that the line between art and pornography can be difficult to define. But a key to defining it is context. In the examples I’ve seen, they are all taken out of context. Many works that delve into difficult subjects (which a good work of art does) can be deemed pornographic if all the story structure is removed.

  5. While I do NOT agree with We the People 2 for reasons stated above by Stephen Alpern, HCPSS should be very careful and more receptive of what parents want/don’t want taught to their children (or have access to) in public schools via DEI/SEL . Yes, our county tends to skew “left/blue” and is very diverse culturally/ethnically, but a lot of these cultures do not want their children taught (or have access to) things in school that they feel should only be discussed at home and in private. Let us all remember “the survey” debacle from 6-7 years ago when Renee Foose and the BoEd decided that it was OK to give the same health questionnaire to students 6th-12th grade and more than 1/2 of that survey was about sex: and Middle School parents signed a permission slip granting approval for a survey about smoking/drinking/drugs for health class. Did anyone in Admin even bother to look at the questions and think that giving the same survey to teens 6th-12th grade was a very bad idea?

    On the other hand, kids are watching some pretty explicit sexual content on TV and on the internet even if parents don’t know about it. And let’s always remember that when teens think parents are trying to hide or deny them something, it just makes them try harder to have access to it. If we want to live in a diverse community and all get along, then we all must have respect for each other. I’m not advocating the banning of books but maybe some content should only be found in the public library where parents own the responsibility for what their children read/watch. Just a thought…..

    • Not sure about Howard County, but in Baltimore County you don’t need a parent’s OK to get a library card if you are 14 and over. I see that as OK, I can understand how others may not.

      We do need to accommodate a diverse society and the process is there through the book approval procedures to ensure that the county does as well as it can to find a middle ground. Unfortunately, there is no solution that accommodates all viewpoints. While there are those mentioned in this article that believe we go too far, I’m sure there are others that believe we don’t go far enough. But that’s how a community works: through compromise. Somewhere along the line we’ve lost our ability to see that as necessary. Or, more likely, a small (loud) portion of us have. Sadly we hear so much from that small portion on both extremes–who define their lives by conflict instead of working together–that the rest of us get caught up in believing we should be continually at odds.

      • I’m glad that you admit that it’s a small portion and both extremes that are waging these wars. Lately, I feel like no one is able to get along or compromise. All we have is name calling and yelling. The problem in HoCo is that HCPSS/BoEd has done some shady things in the past and now lots of people don’t have trust in the system.

        • I gave up on social media several years ago but I’ll pop in every once in a while to see if it has changed. Inevitably the level of discourse saddens me. As you say, all name calling and yelling with no compromise. There are definitely folks who are willing to listen and learn, but discussion is dominated by the loudest and most extreme. That includes many that have similar views as mine. I ask myself, “What does it accomplish to speak only to the choir and harden the positions of those you oppose?” The worst part is it’s not going to get better. This is one of those cases where I’m glad I’m old.

          As for the BoE/HCPSS Once trust is lost, it’s hard to get it back with firm and transparent leadership. On this issue, for example, a strong BoE/Superintendent would present what the approval process is and show how this material was accepted. Would it satisfy everyone? No. Nothing short of removing the books would satisfy We the People 2. But it would show a steadfast example of how calm, straightforward leadership is done.

    • The minute you start whining about diversity and equity you give the game away, not to mention thinking that children learning to deal with their feelings and respect differences through SEL is scary. Sorry you don’t get to burn every book with an LGBTQ subject heading, your beloved constitution actually applies to other people as well. You claim to not want to ban books, yet you want to ban the existence of entire groups of people in the curriculum? Right, sure. I suggest actually talking to your kid about your family’s rules instead of forcing them on mine. And yes, all kids deserve accurate and inclusive sex education and clearly many of their parents are far from qualified to give it to them.

  6. FYI: The library is not where school aged children look for porn.
    How many of these same parents have ever looked at their child’s browser history? *sigh*
    Just because a book is not right for your child, doesn’t mean it’s not right for any child.
    That is what makes libraries great. Diverse thoughts. School libraries in HCPSS schools have stricter codes compared to many other school districts, on what can be allowed (books must be professionally reviewed for a particular age group).

    • Maybe, but my 6th grader came home and asked if she should be having sex because to her (and many others), the survey implied that everyone was having sex?….see how that works? Many immigrants don’t want their children learning about sex in school at all. I was a bit ticked off that I signed a permission slip and got “Bait & Switched”. The worst part was that the data was sold. If not for a bunch of students who were allowed to BYOD (with cameras!!) to school parents would never have believed that this was done.

  7. In defense of banning books, let me point out that forbidden fruit is always the tastiest. If you want kids to read a book, just tell them they can’t.

    I suggest we create a list of books called “These are the books parents don’t want you to read.” The books will get read, and the students will question why the parents in such cases are such jackasses.

    Just sayin’

  8. Why should children of all ages have to be exposed to to literature that is sexually explicit? They shouldn’t. It doesn’t matter what is in the movies or television. Many parents don’t want their children exposed to pornography, homosexuality or any other form of sexuality.

    • I’m not sure I’m following how your defining exposed? Is having a book in a library exposure? If so have these kids ever walked through Barnes and Noble, if so does that constitute exposure? We have to stop thinking about things that pertain to all children as a what I want for my child perspective. Whether you have issues with LGBTQ+ children or not, the reality is they are here, they are in School and reading a book like this may offer some comfort and even education for these children who will already face a lot from society at large. Truth is for these types of things that we feel the need to “protect” our children from, you might be surprised to know they already know, seen and experienced it.

    • No, just you and few others. Look, if you don’t want your kid reading something, just say he/she isn’t allowed to read certain books. The problem I have with people like YOU, is that you are trying to dictate what MY children read and learn. You are not an educator, therefore you have no right determining the curriculum. You have NO RIGHT telling me what my child learns based on your sense of “morality.”

  9. From the We the People 2 homepage (https://www.wethepeople2.com/):
    “This site was created by a group of patriots that love our Creator, country, family & all of mankind. The purpose of this site is to educate and unite like-minded patriots across America…
    We shall breathe freely
    We shall NOT be injected with an experimental bioweapon
    We shall operate our businesses as usual”

    I conclude the ” experimental bioweapon” above is a reference to the COVID-19 vaccines and that “patriots that love our Creator, country, family & all of mankind” strive to “educate” other “patriots across America” not to be vaccinated. So true American patriots would not be vaccinated?

  10. The “Patriots” are very like the “German Patriots” who decided to pursue the censorship of books that didn’t agree their perception of German Identity. Folks, if you think it couldn’t happen here, guess what? It is happening here, right now, in Howard County, Maryland.

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