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Susan Gallagher, Parents Rights In Education

Scappoose School Board Monday, January14, voted with a majority of 5 -2 against a RESOLUTION proposed by board member, Lisa Maloney to remove GEORGE from the Oregon Battle of the Books reading list. Maloney and Brooks voted in favor.

Content of this book is Highly Controversial
GEORGE is a controversial book, nationwide. George, required reading for OBOB 3-5th grade students, was removed by Canby School district last spring and two other districts refused to participate in the OBOB state-wide competition because of it’s inclusion.

When there are 15 additional books on the 3-5 grade reading list, it would seem evident to make accommodation for those opposed to their child’s exposure to the content…for any reason.

Why invite controversy? Well, it seems Scappoose parents were not made aware of the book’s content until December, after it came home with their children. The OBOB list was published in the spring of last year without any advance warning of controversial material. How could teachers and administrators not know about it, when other districts were debating the issue?

OBOB is more than reading.
Because of the Competition, the books on the list are studied in depth. Most responsible adults would agree passages featured in George about internet pornography, male genitalia, and sex change surgery, are not appropriate for the average 8-year-old. Also troubling, are tips on how to hide information from parents, fostering parental disrespect.

Then there’s this: “A boy could become a girl. She [George] had since read on the Internet that you could take girl hormones that would change your body, and you could get a bunch of different surgeries if you wanted them… This was called transitioning. You could even start before you were eighteen with pills called androgen blockers that stopped the boy hormones already inside you, from turning your body into a man’s.”

Parents’ Rights In Education was not allowed to testify.
The board room was packed, standing room only. Three members of Parents’ Rights In Education were present to give testimony, but were not allowed. The Scappoose Board leadership is clearly in over it’s head. Phil Lager, Chair announced public comment to the Resolution were limited to 30 minutes and 10 speakers, 5 pro and 5 against. He was confused about who was “for” the Resolution and against the book, versus “for” the book and opposed to the Resolution, allowing only 3 to speak for the Resolution…After the vote failed, he accepted a vote for an amendment to the Resolution, in violation of Roberts Rules of Order.

There were 20+ in attendance with Basic Rights Oregon, wearing stickers identifying themselves. Although several were allowed to testify, one member threatened a lawsuit if the board did not vote NO the Resolution; inappropriate, arrogant and uncalled for.

Not a “book ban.”
The groups asserted removing GEORGE is book banning. The Resolution was to remove the title from a grade school reading list not “ban” it from public consumption, which is illegal and cannot be done by a school district. GEORGE is readily available through normal channels. Removing GEORGE from the school competition does not preclude individual families from sharing it with their children.

Basic Rights Oregon website claims, “Transgender people face alarming rates of poverty, violence, and suicide due to lack of acceptance and societal discrimination.” It appears they also are determined to indoctrinate grade school age children in their ideology with the intent of gaining acceptance.

Isn’t harmony better than division?
The OBOB competition is elective. But, why would Scappoose SD refuse to accommodate this simple request from some parents, so ALL families in the district can participate?

We can debate the viewpoint of the book in question ad nauseam. The real issue is whether parents’ rights matter to the school district in Scappoose. When parents express concern about curriculum content, especially age appropriateness, you better listen.

Their vote was a testimony to lack of commitment to their constituency. Allegiance should be to ALL parents of the district, not just those who subscribe to a controversial ideology, including Basic Rights Oregon. They should strive for inclusion, not exclusion, and join other districts who removed this controversial book. It is right thing to do.

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