Carroll County Public School System bows to Moms for Liberty and bans books on sex

BALTIMORE – The great thinkers in the Carroll County public school system believe they’re doing their students a favor. The other day, they outlawed sex in their schools’ library and textbooks. They imagine their kids won’t find some other way to find out the facts of life.

After a months-long campaign waged by a conservative parent group called Moms for Liberty, the county school board voted to tighten the policy on books and toss out any deemed “sexually inappropriate.”

Well, good luck finding consensus on whatever “sexually inappropriate” means.

The new policy defines it as “unambiguously describing, depicting, showing or writing about sex or sex acts in a detailed or graphic manner.”

Does anyone have a problem with that?

Well, yeah.

As the Baltimore Banner reported, there are parents infuriated that one group – the Moms for Liberty folks – “shouldn’t decide what’s best for everyone. There was even an attempt to challenge the Bible to test the system.”

Of the 61 books Moms for Liberty challenged, all but the Bible have been removed from school library shelves, though Carroll County school officials haven’t actually reviewed these books yet since there are so many of them. And, according to The Banner, some school librarians are complaining they weren’t consulted before any decision was made.

Yeah, why would anyone want to consult librarians about books?

The fight over censorship is an old one, and so is the fight over sex. Some of us still remember a battle some years back in Anne Arundel County, where some parents wanted Maya Angelou’s great book, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” banned from schools.

The book is Angelou’s account of her childhood in the rural South. It won the National Book Award. It happens that the book contains certain vulgar words, and descriptions of rape and sexual anxiety and lesbianism, all of which some parents found too explicit for teenage children.

Parents are certainly entitled to their anxieties and their desire to maintain some control over their children’s lives – but they’re not entitled to control other folks’ children.

And they’re being naïve if they think they can keep teenage kids from searching out any kind of sexual material available as their sex glands are making their debut and their hunger increases.

All parents want to protect their children. But the kids live in a world that bombards them with information of all kinds. And teenage kids have their own agenda: they want the truth. They want to be let in on all the great secrets.

The job of parents – and educators! – is to share those secrets in the most sensitive way we know how: with works of art and literature, with the hope that they’ll sit in a protective atmosphere, guided by trained professionals, to find out the things they wonder about in a way that enlarges their understanding and their maturity.

And maybe even come home and share with their parents the great secrets they’ve learned – if Mom and Dad are mature enough to handle it.

One thought on “Carroll County Public School System bows to Moms for Liberty and bans books on sex

  • January 21, 2024 at 2:00 PM
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    Hi Michael,

    This is a very good article, but it’s unfortunate that you had to write it. As a therapist that works with kids and teens, as well as someone serving a school system, and as former therapist working in prisons with those with sex offenses, I am appalled just how irresponsibly the Carroll County School Board is acting in this case. They should be held accountable. Whenever it comes to sexuality and youth, who are the experts? No one on a school board, that is for sure, and such study is stigmatized in our society. Here you have a Board that acts politically and aligns itself with political interests over serving its community and kids. This is Maryland, not Florida. They did no research on these books. They did not review these books, and the organization they are listening to has a clear record of lies, where even their members admit that they don’t read the books they censure.

    So what example does the Carroll County School District send to its youth? Jump up and down and look at the sky for prejudices. Is education “Woke?” So, we should not educate ourselves and take Putin’s path of blind subordination? Some political leaders would love that, as this so call “Liberty” organization desires. Make mindless decisions about a subject they know almost nothing about (though they claim they do). Align themselves with a politically loaded group known to be unethical with unethical behavior, for what? There must be a money flowing somewhere.

    What we know is that when kids and teens get sex education in schools, and this includes reading about sexuality because sexuality is natural and everyone has a sexuality, rates of teen pregnancies, STDs, and harm to girls in particular go down. Compare most northern states to southern states. The south has by far the worse rates of teen pregnancy and STDs. This is where this group comes from, a place that supports silencing over education. If teens know what the difference is between appropriate sexual behavior and predatory behavior, they are able to protect themselves.Their first sexual experience, if they choose it, and many choose not to engage in sex, can be less harmful as a result of good education. Censuring anything that this political group sees as inappropriate creates an unsafe environment for kids and teens, a culture of silence.

    Though I understand that parents want some control over texts that their children read, we would not need schools if parents were able to teach their kids. Parents are not always able to do this. And we have all the evidence in the world that most parents are too embarrassed to teach their kids about sex, and maybe even too protective. They see them as their babies after all. Just read Anne Frank’s Definitive Edition of her book “The Diary of a Young Girl,” one this group would want to censor, to get a clear understanding of the sexuality a 13-year-old girl is discussing with accuracy. This was in 1942! And here we are with the same level of insanity. Schools don’t teach the full edition because they fear sex, but regardless, kids and teens will find it in society and among themselves, so let’s keep them blind because adults are uncomfortable? Good! That is how you learn by being uncomfortable But what would the Board know about actual learning? It’s a total disgrace.

    Second, where are the real sexuality educators? They don’t exist, yet sexuality is very complex. We are all born with sexuality. Kids have sexuality. Teens can have sexual desire naturally, not sinfully. They don’t just happen to get it magically at 18 or 25. Sex is not a sin, nor is it a crime, but such organizations create a culture of abuse by silencing youth and others that understand that kids and teens live in a sexual world and need to learn how to navigate it. This will not change. We are sexual creatures and censorship only creates manifestations, mental illness, and ultimately an abuse-supported culture of silence. And that is exactly what this Liberty group wants, a culture of alternative “truths” that they make up for power’s sake.

    At the very least, these books should be open to all kids and teens, but they should be able to choose whether they want to read it or not. This should be between child or teen and parent. What right does this group have, what right does the County have to tell your kid or their parent that they cannot read such a book? Are we a totalitarian county yet? We are getting there in God’s speed.

    When will this craziness end? Learn about sexuality because our culture is beyond sick with ignorance, panic, and lack of common sense.We only speak of sex crimes, so sexuality becomes illegal to discuss almost literally. Carroll County has chosen blindness and political backscratching over what’s best for parents and their children.

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