The Bonny Eagle School District voted not to ban a book about puberty and sex education from its schools Tuesday night.
A full house spoke passionately both in favor and against banning the book “It’s Perfectly Normal” — which is about sex education and puberty, including within the LGBTQ community, that’s become a source of controversy within MSAD 6 — during Tuesday’s school board meeting.
“If there was some sort of rating system, PG to XXX, I think these books fall under XXX,” Buxton resident John Reagan said. “And I don’t think any of our libraries in town or school should have any XXX books in there.”
A group of residents who questioned whether the book was appropriate at Bonny Eagle Middle School because of illustrations of sexual organs and adults having sex.
“And if those were real pictures of naked people in bed with nipples showing and penises sticking up in the air like in the book, it would be considered rated R,” school board Member Julie Anderson said.
Others argued the book has value to children, especially those who identify as LGBTQ.
“Young people deserve to read books where queer and trans adults exist,” Buxton resident Emily Weyrauch said. “Young people deserve to read books where queer and trans adults thrive.”
“In my evaluation about the book, I found it to be neutral in tone, strictly educational in nature and contextually appropriate,” school board Member Erika Cruetz said. “Illustrations of sex are appropriate in a book about sex.”
Even with the decision Tuesday night, parents still have ultimate control over what their child can take from the library.
“I believe in parental authority and our policy says that the final authority for what a student is exposed to rests with the parent,” Superintendent Clay Gleason said.
A second book also has drawn some attention: “Gender Queer: A Memoir.” That book is only available in the high school.
The school board will hold a public hearing for that book on Sept. 19.
Correction: An earlier version of this report misspelled Emily Weyrauch’s last name.