Young children going to all three public school districts in Mason County (Ludington (LASD), Mason County Central (MCC), and Mason County Eastern (MCE)) have access to a wide variety of books deemed controversial by many schools across the country and banned from their shelves. If you have a 10-year-old child or grandchild in the 5th Grade, they have complete access to eleven of the top 12 controversial titles at school libraries for 2022 as seen in the graphic below:
Most of these titles have very-adult themes running through them depicted either in words or in graphic images, and unlike many titles banned from school libraries in the past, these books are primarily aimed at younger readers, and many seem to have indoctrination as a primary purpose. Many seem to glorify lifestyles and activities that many parents of children sending their kids to public school would find objectionable and their content would seem to run contrary to what you would think the school would be offering for your child's education. Many that are available would not be age-appropriate for younger students.
We will talk a little more about this later, but let's take a look at how students are able to be exposed to these titles and many other controversial ones that not all parents would be happy that their child is reading.
Also on Monday, the school district joined forces with the Mason County District Library to offer students a chance to participated in the Unbound Library Services.
“This is one more way to access material, which is age-appropriate and interesting to them, which is not located in the schools’ libraries right now,” said Emily Garland of the library.
Corlett said this is a great opportunity for students to have more resources available to them.
Our report was gleaned only from what was discussed at the meeting:
"the board approved Unbound Library services offered by the Mason County District Library and currently being used by MCE Schools. The board approved a letter of understanding with the library that was referenced, but not shared with the public. I plan on doing further research into this."
That research began with making a public record request for the MOU (Memorandum of Understanding), and we received it last year, did some follow-up research and found some interesting stuff; unfortunately, we put it on a backburner and forgot about it while waging legal battles against the school, the city, and the City of Scottville about a variety of other issues.
The last school board meeting in the middle school library jogged that memory and spurred me to some additional research. The first thing one notices is that the MOU is not made between the LASD and the Mason County District Library (MCDL) or even between LASD and MCE as indicated at the meeting, rather the MOU is between MCC and the MCDL. This LASD-approved MOU between two other parties has no legal power when the board approved it.
But one can believe that in the months since November, LASD has treated this as a valid MOU for itself and that they have partnered with the MCDL for expanding their bookshelves, much like MCC and MCE has. One cannot find a link to the Unbound service on the LASD website, but they have such links on the websites of MCE and MCC just a click off the home page, so a student at LASD could just go to MCE's Unbound portal and get materials, as intimated at the meeting. The latter Unbound portal describes itself and the process in its FAQs:
Note that those in the 5th grade or higher can get anything they want, other than R-rated materials, which only applies to movies, not books. Thus, anything at the MCDL is fair game to a 10-year-old to check out without question and the library has a lot of books/graphic novels of questionable literary content aimed at this demographic and definitely not age-appropriate. Let's start with the list we prefaced this report with:
Gender Queer is at the top of the banned lists of recent years for a variety of reasons, yet is available for download and available at the Scottville library for our local children to check out at school. The book includes graphic depictions and descriptions of sex and masturbation in a story of self-discovery where the author comes to the nihilistic point that she can no longer continue as a woman in society. Any reasonably competent school librarian should be able to see in an instant that it is not appropriate for 10-year-olds at a public-school library and is more akin to child pornography aiding potential exploitation.
Ironically, we believe Gender Queer should be required reading for parents thinking of putting their children into Mason County's public schools. The author's story illustrates how their parents' indifference and carte blanche tolerance was a primary mechanism in cultivating the dangerous path taken by the author, and to increase awareness of how their children are being indoctrinated into phony notions of gender fluidity. With the passage of Proposal 3 in Michigan last year, our ten-year-old children can read Gender Queer either on their own or through a sympathetic librarian/teacher decide they need puberty blockers and gender-affirmation surgery without any input from parents.
Like GQ, All Boys Aren't Blue is an autobiographical coming of age story, this time by a gay person. This book has no pictures but is very graphic in its depiction of sexual acts, including an act of statutory rape. Would a responsible parent allow their ten-year-old child to read this story on their own initiative to improve their education?
A historical fiction love story from the 1930s usually banned for being very explicit in its depictions of abuse, violence and sex.
Morrison's book gets banned because it contains offensive language, sexually explicit material, and controversial issues, as well as depicting child sexual abuse and otherwise not being age-appropriate for younger children. Like the prior book, the minimal age for reading this book for comprehension is 14.
The last one we will review is "The Hate U Give" a fictional story about a black woman's evolution of how she feels about police. It is typically banned because it is considered 'pervasively vulgar,'" contains "drug use, uses profanity, and offensive language," has sexual references, and promotes an anti-police message.
One can make a conclusion, since 11 of the 12 most banned books in America are available for download and 9 are in stock mostly in the Young Adult section at the MCDL, that they are actively seeking this type of material and furtively sharing these titles with your children probably without your knowledge through the Unbound program available at all the county's public schools.
Those worried about their younger children being indoctrinated into a culture of gender fluidity, sexual promiscuity, and other topics that may rob them of their innocence by this program have a reason to worry. Your five-year-old can see a wide variety of materials that may contradict the values you wish to instill in them, Amazon descriptions about books from the MCDL Kids library for K-4th:
It's about a little boy who loves sparkly things like jewelry and skirts, and his sister who at the start is upset that he is wearing "girl" things, but who learns by the end to accept her brother as he is and stand up for him to kids who are teasing him about wearing a skirt.
Jacob loves playing dress-up, when he can be anything he wants to be. Some kids at school say he can't wear "girl" clothes, but Jacob wants to wear a dress to school. Can he convince his parents to let him wear what he wants? This heartwarming story speaks to the unique challenges faced by children who don’t identify with traditional gender roles.
This year, Kevin is going to the school fancy dress show as a princess. Wearing his sister's dress and his mom's lipstick, Kevin knows he looks good. His costume is perfect but he knows that the best costumes are authentic. So he is outraged that none of the knights will partner with him and complete the look. Things don't go quite a smoothly as he planned. Next year, there is only one thing for it. He will just have to be something even more fabulous.
This is a heartwarming and funny story about imagination, diversity and persevering at expressing your fabulous self.
...Why can’t they hold a pride festival in Barton Springs? The problem is, Jake knows he’ll have to get approval from the town council, and the mayor won’t be on his side. And as Jake and his friends try to find a way to bring Pride to Barton Springs, it seems suspicious that the mayor’s son, Brett, suddenly wants to spend time with Jake. But someone that cute couldn’t possibly be in league with his mayoral mother, could he?
...Mysteriously, Ivy's drawings begin to reappear in her locker with notes from someone telling her to open up about her identity. Ivy thinks--and hopes--that this someone might be her classmate, another girl for whom Ivy has begun to develop a crush. Will Ivy find the strength and courage to follow her true feelings? Ivy Aberdeen's Letter to the World exquisitely enriches the rare category of female middle-grade characters who like girls--and children's literature at large.
This is just a small sampling of what is available to your kindergartener at their request to see without your knowledge at their school library through the Unbound program. What's more potentially worrisome is how educators and librarians may use these resources to chart their own course for your child.
If you're not comfortable with this arrangement, you may want to let your local public school and/or library know about it. We are not book burners or banners here at the Ludington Torch, but we do see the prudence of not putting adult-themed books in schools without challenge to how their content or age-appropriateness is not suitable for school reading.
Our philosophy mirrors the strong minority of the Board of Education v. Pico 1982 Supreme Court decision, where a weak ruling that hasn't aged well, indicating that students had a new right to receive information, but only in the school library. The minority emphasized that such decisions were part of the decisions made by a local school board acting on behalf of local parents, not by judges adding a specious new right:
"When it acts as an educator, at least at the elementary and secondary school level, the government is engaged in inculcating social values and knowledge in relatively impressionable young people. Obviously there are innumerable decisions to be made as to... what books should be purchased... the mere decision to purchase some books will necessarily preclude the possibility of purchasing others... In each of these instances, however, the book may be acquired elsewhere. The managers of the school district... are simply determining that it will not be included in the school library."
The public has a right to petition their school board for introducing inappropriate learning materials into the hands of students and they have similar powers to influence their library boards who may develop a program that does the same. Our county's impressionable public-school children are being exposed to most of the controversial works that exist, with either nobody around to supply context, or with someone around whose intentions and perspectives may not be those of the children's parents. This is not a good recipe for student success.
I my earlier days I worked for a large corporation . As a supervisor of a department there were about 30 people on my shift. Of those looking back 5 , 2 women and 3 mens were I shall say different. Back then there wasn't at least to my knowledge all the LGBTQ+ , it was called gay or lesbian . These 5 didn't act out as being different, everybody knew they were ,but everyone got along fine . Never heard a comment about them ,they were part of the production group . In your world you might not care for certain Religions, Ethnic groups or your neighbor because of the way they act. If everyone was treated as their equal and not have the I'm better than you approach everyone would be better off. Now in this present time we have some screwed up people but as long as they don't try to push their agenda or way of life on me I'm OK , but they are and our kids and that isn't right.
Good analogy stump.
RK. If you have been paying attention to legitimate news agencies you would know what I stated in my post is true. I was making general statements, not quoting specific data. Black Lives Matter has been a mainstay in schools since it was founded. Founded by trained Marxists.
There is a fallacy in the example of the boys and the fence. Ms. Medvin concludes, apparently without evidence, that the tall boy was forced to give his box to the shorter boy. This perfectly illustrates the right wing world-view that people will be forced to give all their stuff to somebody else. I prefer to think that the tall boy was taught to be a thoughtful person and gave his box to the shorter boy so both can see. This is what educators are trying to teach our kids.
I think that's the point. The tall boy's box was taken away and given to another boy. Who's making the decisions? The people or a Marxist government? The fact that the boys were given the boxes to begin with says a lot. The moral of this story is the Government gives and the Government takes away. Typical authoritarian thinking. By the way, 3 other things that the wonderful, enlightened Europeans gave us - Marxism, Communism and Fascism.
Where does it say that the tall boy's box was taken by the government? How do you know that the tall boy didn't look at the short boy and say "Here,take this box. I don't need it and you do." And that right there is the difference between right wing fascism and progressive education.
The equality v. equity graphic you're talking about (seen above) doesn't even really make sense, as height isn't something that can be made equal among people and finding an equitable way to make everyone the same height all the time would be a ridiculous endeavor to achieve. One could even say the right picture is more about equality (in height) than it is about equity.
Any three people of the given heights, with a lick of common sense between them, bringing three boxes to the ballfield would set them up like they do on the right picture, no government interference or altruism by the tall guy is needed. It's telling why those who are trying to push equity of wealth or of outcomes use this to express the concept, when the obvious equitable result is to let them all watch from the bleachers like all those other people are and leave their boxes at home. Putting a young kid on two rickety boxes is a recipe for a bad outcome.
Stump, I grew up with Flip Wilson, Benny Hill and Monty Python, who all rarely had a show without any of the main characters not dressing up as a woman, and guess what? They made everyone laugh. I also grew up in Scottville, where about half of the clowns are cross-dressers, and guess what? They entertained everyone and made them laugh. That was their agenda.
Nowadays, those TV shows would be cancelled. Nowadays, the cross-dressers are not out for laughs. I will not generalize what they are out for, because I'm sure there is a variety of thought among them, but it comes through in a lot of this literature.
I always wondered about the clown band cross dressers. But now we have these guys, dressing up real weird , not the clown band , going into library and schools supposedly reading too little kids. Does anyone check these guys out? are they just crossdressers ? or is there another motive to get too little kids. Pedifile comes to mind .