Unbounded: Books without Boundaries at Your Local Public School Library

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.  

The Ludington Torch went to the November school board meeting and wrote a report on it, so did the local paper who wrote the next day (November 2022 COLDNews recap):

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.  

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Excellent report X. We all know that this is not about banning books. It's about keeping child predators and deviants from preying on children. The only reason these books are in schools is to promote the gay agenda. I couldn't care less what these people do with their own lives but they need to stay away from children. The schools and libraries have become the origins for spreading propaganda regarding gender fluidity and other sexual progressive beliefs. If parents don't speak up and get involved we are in for a nasty collapse of our society. Leave the children alone!

Willy, just as we humans are born with different physical characteristics that we can see (some of which are considered abnormal) we are sometimes born with different genetic characteristics, which we cannot see except by examining the genome of the individual. There are over 10,000 different genetically caused diseases and abnormalities. These abnormalities sometimes manifest themselves in behavior that can be considered abnormal. There are also physiological and medical factors that contribute to behavioral differences in both males and females, such as abnormal hormone levels. Therefore, biological males can and do exhibit female behaviors, and biological females sometimes exhibit traditionally male behaviors. It is not a matter of choice, but of genetics and physiology. Some people that exhibit abnormal behaviors were born the way they are and cannot change their genetic makeup. Further, there is no evidence that gender differences play any role in pedophilia. The "gay agenda" is only an effort by gender-different individuals to be understood and accepted instead of feared and ostracized. Finally, the countries that have the most comprehensive sex and sexuality education, in and out of school, have the lowest rates of teen pregnancy and sexuality-related problems. Banning books is an excellent way to keep children uneducated, intolerant and ignorant. They will find and read those books regardless of whether libraries have them or not, and they are far more likely to read them when they are told not to. It is far more beneficial to learn than to burn. 

I don't want to come in between this discussion between RK and Willy, but the LT appreciates whenever possible, the inclusion of links to support claims, particularly when blanket statements like "countries that have the most comprehensive sex and sexuality education, in and out of school, have the lowest rates of teen pregnancy and sexuality-related problems" and introduce self-contradictory claims "Banning books is an excellent way to keep children uneducated, intolerant and ignorant. They will find and read those books regardless..."

Unsupported and contradictory claims tend to weaken any other arguments you make that have merit and tend to show the other side that you have an agenda, rather than a desire for seeking objective truth.  I frankly tried to verify the first claim mentioned and couldn't find a correlation in the data.  It does appear that those countries with the highest teen abortion rates tend to be those deemed being the most comprehensive in their sex ed (note rates of Denmark, Sweden, France, Norway), so what would you conclude from that?

As to European sexuality education: "At age eight, kids progress to learning about gender stereotypes, and at age 11 an introduction to contraception and sexual identity begins. Apr 4, 2016: https://www.self.com › Life › news"
My statement: "Banning books is an excellent way to keep children uneducated, intolerant and ignorant. They will find and read those books regardless..." is not self-contradictory if you add the phrase "in school libraries." Literally everything is on the internet and school libraries are likely the last refuge of inquiring students, not the first. 
"so what would you conclude from that?..." I would conclude that in general, European children are better educated, more accepting of gender differences, and more mature in their thinking and world-view than US teenagers. They grow up in close geographic proximity with other cultures and are exposed to many different histories, languages, and cultural practices simply because of their geographic location and the blending of their many societies, whereas US children do not. We are more geographically and culturally isolated. 
Additionally, Jewish law (Halacha) recognizes six different genders. In many cultures, people who identify as non-binary are considered special, endowed with wisdom and sometimes special powers, such as shamen, kahuna, witch doctors, and many others.  Some American native cultures refer to intersex, gay and lesbian people as "two-spirited." 
In fact, I would like to retract my reference to the "abnormal" in my first post. All of us exist on a very wide scale of genetic and behavioral characteristics, such that there is no clear definition of "normal" at all. If there is, please provide one. 

Does any kids go to the public library? According to a lot of studies most can't even read, maybe they just look at the pictures.  I do agree that those books should not be in the school library . Do any kids use the school library ?   Watching my grand children ,I don't think they would be interested in reading a book as they have their cell phone in their face 24-7

Frankly, I couldn't care less what adults legally do. What I'm tired of is having
people with deviant ideas and behavior trying to shove their life style down
our throats. Anyone who disagrees or does not approve of their chosen life
style is labeled a bigot or anti this or anti that. And since they are now trying
to recruit and indoctrinate other peoples children, they have in my opinion,
declared war on society. Most people are simply telling these people to live
their lives and don't involve those who do not agree with them. How many
heterosexual pride flags are hanging from peoples houses compared to gay pride
flags. Gays have ruined the reputation of the Catholic Church with sexual child
abuse that leads all the way to Rome. Ever wonder what caused Pope Benedict
XVI to resign? He himself was not accused of pedophilia but many of the Churches
hierarchy were neck deep in the scandal. So the idea that gays are only trying to
have gender different individuals be understood doesn't hold much water.
This is not about banning books. It's about keeping people with twisted agendas
away from kids. I don't understand how Europe can be held up as the shining social
example. History is full of examples of how Europeans, from Neanderthals to the
inquisitions to the Crusades and countless wars, including the biggies, WW1 and WW2
that reveal why European societies should not be put on any sort of holier than thou
pedestal, especially when it comes to human rights. Remember the Holocaust? I have
to agree that we shouldn't use the word "normal" but in many cases the words
deviant, perverted, twisted, predatory, weird, sociopath, schizophrenic and many
others will fit nicely in describing human behavior.

Willy: The lifestyles of people with gender differences are not "chosen." And adding a few books to a library to help young people understand gender differences, sex and sexuality does not constitute "shoving their lifestyle down our throats." That's a Tucker Carlson-esque exaggeration.

Here's the problem as I see it. I agree that to be a nice person we should except peoples flaws and treat them with respect because most everyone has flaws. But were not talking about flaws. Were talking about behavior and most behavior can be overlooked and even tolerated if it is not intentionally harmful to others. But we cannot except sexually deviant behavior when it includes involving children or anyone else who finds it offensive especially when they are forced to condone that behavior. We have gone from being tolerant to being demanded to accept and agree with deviant behavior. We are being told it's "normal". We have men pretending to be women, taking over women's sports and forcing women to participate and accept it and if they don't they are ostracized. There are men dressing as clownish women reading books to children in public library's all over America. We have medical and educational officials calling for children as young as 4 years old to have sex changes. We have so called educators indoctrinating children about sexual matters involving all kinds of deviant behavior while concealing this from parents. There are school districts that allow Satan clubs for children to take place in schools. The constant brainwashing of Americas youth by the Leftist ideology. The lack of educators, teachers and school systems to teach the true history without a Marxist included indoctrination.  We're not talking about lifestyle we are talking about normalizing twisted behavior. "Gender Queer".

@ XLFD: Why am I the only one you chastise for failing to provide references for every point I make, while you ignore others who write long screeds full of undocumented assertions with zero documentation? My reference for this question (to your point) is the reply by Willy to my comments, in which he makes several bizarre assertions with zero documentation. ("Marxist indoctrination?" C'mon man!)

RK, I'm not singling you out, but when you offered an untrue stat ("countries that have the most comprehensive sex and sexuality education, in and out of school, have the lowest rates of teen pregnancy and sexuality-related problems") and claimed it as factual when the stats I've looked up don't support it, was for your own edification; you shouldn't claim something that isn't factual, it ruins your credibility.  

Willy made some strong statements, he offered a couple of links, perhaps you could comment on why we should believe that there is any literary value to a 10 y.o. kid reading and observing the stuff in Gender Queer?  But his statement:  "The lack of educators, teachers and school systems to teach the true history without a Marxist included indoctrination." is an opinion close enough to the truth and accepted by many with their eyes open. 

Witness the 1619 Project, CRT, equity, social justice, all things not part of traditional American history that tend to achieve the goals of inflaming the racial proletariat and ushering in an era of communism.  Here's a reference he could have used if he hadn't felt it was self-evident enough to those not wearing communist-red colored glasses.  

There's a reason why curricula is being changed the way it is, and it isn't to further the ends of our republic in a united way, but to split us apart.  Had Willy made a grossly inaccurate statement like the one you made, I would have called him out on it, but I will not shut down or ask for support of an opinion that carries a lot of objective truth to it.  Consider my link above support for Willy's observation.  

One presentation by one opinionated scholar in one obscure conference does not constitute objective truth. And "an opinion close enough to the truth" is still merely an opinion because the truth has not been defined yet. That is what we are trying to do. So if you know that Marxism, communism, gay grooming, CRT, or any other non-American is being introduced widely into any school system in the US, please provide documentation. 

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