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

Kent School District issues statement as LGBTQ library books are under fire

Some believe the books are too sexually explicit for middle school, but others decry library censorship.

After hearing concern from parents regarding two books in a Kent Middle School library, the Kent School District says the children’s literature will be under review by the Instructional Materials Committee until a decision can be made that follows “all related curriculum and instructional materials, policies and procedures” on whether to remove the books.

According to the district, a middle school student originally challenged the appropriateness of two books based on concerns of sexually explicit content. The books in question, “Jack of Hearts (and Other Parts),” by Lev A.C. Rosen, and “If I Was Your Girl,” by Meredith Russo, both notably feature LGBTQ characters.

During a Kent School Board meeting on Jan. 26, many concerned parents and residents gave public comments on the issue. Some supported the principal of Cedar Heights Middle School and her decision to temporarily remove one of the books after a student raised issue with the sexually explicit content in the literature, while others found issue with the unilateral way in which a school administrator was able to “censor” content in a public library protected by the First Amendment.

Others were worried that to remove these books would be to remove some of the only literary representation that LGBTQ students may be able to find in school libraries, only furthering their own marginalization.

Kent School District’s statement claimed these books would still be available for students while the literature is being reviewed by the Instructional Materials Committee. KSD said that in selecting educational materials, staff are cautioned to preview such materials thoroughly and to give due consideration to the maturity level of students; appropriateness of language; bias against racial, gender, ethnic, or other social groups; the degree of violence, nudity, or sexual explicitness; and other sensitive issues.

“While there has been media coverage and public discussion focused on the adults involved and the policy and procedure, as a district our foremost concern is for the student at the heart of the matter,” said Interim Superintendent Israel Vela in the written statement. “Now we follow the process, and ultimately, I trust in my staff, our Instructional Materials Committee, and our school board to see the book challenges through and follow board policies and procedures to make the decision that is in the best interest of all of our students.”


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

t
One of two victims identified in fiery Kent crash

Kristen Anne Meyers, 53, died in May 11 crash on West Hill, according to medical examiner

t
City-owned ShoWare Center in Kent loses $742,675 in 2023

Losses lower than projected but expenses continue to exceed revenue at 6,200-seat arena

t
Kent firefighters extinguish two fires on the same morning | Photos

Friday, May 17 at apartment leasing office in the Valley and at a vacant East Hill house

Courtesy Photo, City of Kent
City of Kent population drops by 1,051 in 2023 compared to 2022

Decline similar to many cities of 50,000 or more across the nation, according to U.S. Census Bureau

t
Kent Police Blotter: April 25 to May 8

Incidents include burglaries, robberies, shootings

t
Rape charges dismissed against former Kent school bus driver

Prosecutors decide they could not prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt due to medical tests

t
Feds indict 9 South King County residents on drug trafficking charges

Those accused from Federal Way, Kent, Renton, Enumclaw

A screenshot of King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn speaking about a proposed amendment for the proposed $20 minimum wage ordinance. (Screenshot)
King County approves $20.29 minimum wage for unincorporated areas

Councilmember Reagan Dunn and more than a dozen business owners argued tips and health care expenses should be a part of the new wage. The council passed the ordinance without the amendment.

Dave Upthegrove. COURTESY PHOTO
Upthegrove one of seven candidates for state lands commissioner

His King County Council member’s district includes part of Kent

COURTESY PHOTO, King County Elections
Candidates file for Kent-area races for Congress, Legislature

Incumbents face challengers in two Congressional contests and four state House races

t
Two die in single-car crash in Kent on West Hill

Sedan crashed Saturday evening, May 11 into tree and caught fire in 2400 block of South 272nd Street

t
Spanaway man, 25, faces murder charge in Kent bar shooting

Reportedly shot Federal Way man, 30, eight times inside Meeker Street Bar & Grill