Cedar Heights Middle School, where the principal reportedly removed LGBTQ+ literature in the library after a student raised an issue with the content. (Screenshot from Kent School District website)

Cedar Heights Middle School, where the principal reportedly removed LGBTQ+ literature in the library after a student raised an issue with the content. (Screenshot from Kent School District website)

ACLU gets involved in Kent School District removal of LGBTQ+ books

The civil rights advocacy group called banning LGBTQ+ books a “life and death situation.”

With a selection of books featuring LBGTQ+ characters and themes being under fire in the Kent School District, the American Civil Liberties Union has gotten involved.

On June 6, the ACLU wrote a letter to the Kent School Board urging the directors to reverse the recent determination to remove “Jack of Hearts (and Other Parts)” by Lev A.C. Rosen, made by the district’s Instructional Materials Committee.

After an administrator reportedly unilaterally removed the book from Cedar Heights

Middle School library following a student’s complaint about the appropriateness of its content, the Kent School Board moved to subject the title to a review from the Instructional Materials Committee.

Recently the committee decided that “Jack of Hearts (and Other Parts)” was inappropriate for middle school readers due to its mature sexual themes and situations, but also because the book contains harmful hyper-sexualized stereotypes of homosexuality, their review wrote.

On June 8, the Kent School Board will examine the IMC’s review of the book and may vote to make further actions regarding whether this book and others like it can stay on school library shelves.

In the ACLU’s letter to the school board, they argue that banning books featuring themes and characters of specific minority groups runs counter to the District’s non-discrimination policy and is harmful to students.

“The District’s non-discrimination policy plainly states that the District does not discriminate

in any programs or activities on the basis of sex, race, creed, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity,” the letter read. “The fact that the only book in question that is being removed under the guise of protecting youth from sexual themes happens to be an LGBTQ+ themed book is blatant discrimination and runs afoul of the District’s own policy.”

In the letter the ACLU of Washington argues that the issue is one of “life and death” for the most vulnerable individuals.

“LGBTQ+ youth are a particularly vulnerable population. A 2020 study published by the CDC found that suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people aged 10 to 24 and that LGBTQ+ youth are more than four times as likely to attempt suicide than their peers,” the ACLU cited. “Research conducted by The Trevor Project has consistently found that LGBTQ+ youth report lower rates of attempting suicide when they have access to LGBTQ+-affirming spaces, including schools.”

They wrote that they were concerned that lack of access to this kind of literature and resources for LGBTQ+ youth could force them to seek toxic misinformation.

In the letter, the ACLU said they would be monitoring the situation and would “determine how to proceed” following the school board’s June 8 meeting.

“The Constitution prohibits community members or school officials from imposing their own personal views and concerns upon an entire school community,” read the letter. “The Board has no basis for denying student access to a specific book based on the disagreement and discomfort of certain parents with the book’s content.”

Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@kentreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.kentreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in News

Kent Police make robbery arrests after West Hill carjacking

Vehicle reportedly taken near Pacific Highway South; pursuit ends in Auburn

Kent Police bust alleged chop shop on East Hill along South 240th St. | Photos

14 stolen vehicles, several trailers, car parts, firearms and drugs reportedly found on site

Sound Transit plans light rail community meetings about S. 272nd St. impact

Scheduled for Feb. 28 and March 14 at Woodmont Library on Pacific Highway South

Man identified who died of medical emergency in Kent while driving car

King County Medical Examiner’s Office rules death of natural causes in 132nd Avenue SE crash

Man, 29, fatally shot on Metro bus in Kent identified

No charges filed against shooter who reportedly acted in self-defense

Aegis Living Kent earns Joint Commission memory care certification

Program designed to enhance the care of residents who suffer from memory-impacting conditions

New Puget Sound Fire engines to hit Kent streets | Photos

Kent will get four new vehicles for East Hill, city of SeaTac one

Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent. FILE PHOTO
Discarded cigarette leads to arrest of Kent double homicide suspects

DNA reveals man, woman who reportedly killed two people in January 2023 at local motel

State Patrol chief thanks public for support of trooper shot in Kent

Trooper’s injuries are not life threatening despite being shot multiple times

Boy, 17, fatally shot in Kent in exchange of gunfire identified | Update

Shooting between subjects in vehicles Feb. 20 along East Valley Highway near South 180th Street

Car damaged by bullets during Feb. 19 Interstate 5 shooting. (Courtesy of Washington State Patrol)
King County Councilmember wants more info about I-5 shootings

The letter, addressed to WSP Chief John R. Batiste, comes in wake of a Feb. 19 drive-by shooting that occurred on I-5 in Tukwila that left a victim in critical condition.

Kent man, 83, dies after medical emergency while driving on East Hill

Reportedly died from medical issue prior to single-car crash Feb. 2o along 132nd Avenue SE