Wicomico School System Pulls Controversial Book

SALISBURY – School officials in Wicomico County say they have pulled a book from its media circulation following concerns about its content.

Last week, several community members came before the Wicomico County Board of Education to share their concerns regarding inappropriate reading materials, including sexually explicit content in the book “All Boys Aren’t Blue” by George M. Johnson. During public comments, in which audio recordings of the book’s passages were shared, citizens called on the school system to remove the title from its media centers.

“As a parent, future grandparent, as a taxpayer and concerned citizen, I’m concerned our kids are sexualized everywhere they go. A school needs to be a haven of safety …,” one community member said. “It’s preposterous that this is available to our children in our schools.”

Calls to remove “All Boys Aren’t Blue” from school libraries took center stage at a recent board meeting in Worcester County. As of last week, the school system had launched a formal review of the book, which is described as the author’s “memories of growing up Black and queer in America.”

Following the public comments portion of last week’s meeting, Wicomico County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Donna Hanlin told community members the book had been removed from its media centers.

“We agree with you, this book has no place in our media centers,” she said. “It was in two libraries. I went so far as to check on how many students had checked the books out because I was concerned. One, since it’s been here. One too many.”

In a statement late last week, Tracy Sahler, public information officer for Wicomico County Public Schools, noted the book, included in the media collections at two high schools, had been pulled after concerns were expressed in other school systems.

“A review of the book was done by the media specialists at those schools, and they recommended it be pulled from the shelves,” she wrote. “After a review of the content of those books, the Superintendent of Schools on Feb. 24 agreed with the recommendation not to return the two copies of ‘All Boys Aren’t Blue’ to the school media centers due to concerns about some of the book’s content not being suitable for students.”

Sahler added that the school system has procedures for reviewing and selecting media resources, as well as handling concerns.

“Media resources should provide a global perspective in order to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion,” the policy reads. “Media resources should offer a broad background of information, including opposing sides of controversial issues to foster critical thinking in students.”

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.