Cobb County School Districy, the second largest in Georgia with 106,00 students has banned two more books from schools and 20 libraries. The books “Flamer” by Mike Curato and “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” by Jesse Andrews have been removed with school officials saying that both contain objectionable content that is not suitable for students.
“Flamer” is a graphic novel about a boy who is discovering he is gay and how he is treated at summer camp. “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” contains some discussion of sex and a lot of profanity, but is mainly about two high school boys who befriend a girl dying of cancer. Both were among the most challenged books of 2022, according to a list published by the American Library Association.
However, Cobb County school officials admit that the book ban deviates from proper procedure for having reading materials assessed and removed in that the school district requires parents to raise the issue of objectionable content and make a formal complaint to the school superintendent’s office.
“This rising tide of educational intimidation exposes the movement that cloaks itself in the language of ‘parental rights’ for what it really is: a smoke screen for efforts to suppress teaching and learning and hijack public education in America,” said Jonathan Friedman, director of Free Expression and Education programs at PEN America.
“The opportunity for parents to inspect and object to school curricula is already commonly granted in public school systems, as it should be. But this spate of provisions dramatically expands these powers in ways that are designed to spur schools and educators to self-censor. These bills risk turning every classroom into an ideological battleground, forcing teachers out of the profession, and jeopardizing the future of millions of students.”
Critics of the reading censorship say that the book ban limits intellectual freedom in schools calling it a national crisis that “threatens public schools’ ability to cultivate a robust, well-informed citizenry.”