Creating Problems Where There Are None
After listening to the Nov. 21, 2023 Board of Education meeting in its entirety, I along with many others, was appalled by the unkind comments of several speakers, especially Bobby Cowger and Grant Helvey.
I believe that there is far more being asked here than the professed claim of protecting
our children from rude language or sexual topics in books. The two speakers in particular made it clear by their own words and tone that they see promoting equality of religions, races and sexual orientation as somehow being a bad thing; that diversity of people in the US is not to be condoned or accepted; and that including and accepting individuals for who and what they are is not to be tolerated. This view smacks heavily of Christian nationalism and the desire to impose
a particular religious viewpoint on the rest of us. They speak of the Board’s fascination with LGBTQ issues. I believe it is they who are trying to focus attention on this issue because they want to start “culture wars”. They want to create a huge problem where there is actually none.
As it stands now, any parent can question the teachers, the principals, the administration and the school board if they have a particular concern. That includes questions about a particular book if they feel their child is being compelled to read something harmful to them. The huge
outcry is not coming from parents who feel their children are being forced to read particular books, but by outsiders who have particular religious or political views. They spoke as if homosexuality isn’t a reality, which it has been throughout history. There have been cultures and time periods when homosexuals have been treated cruelly and denied their freedoms and
rights. Let this not be one of them.
These comments demeaned trans people as if they were somehow contagious and would spread their “affliction” to someone else. We all know this isn’t true. And the issue of bathrooms in the schools is also a non-issue. SDMS ,where I worked for over 20 years, has at least four single person bathrooms (just as there are in many doctor’s offices) that can be made available to any student who might want or need privacy, especially
eighth grade girls going through puberty. The only reason for less private multiple person bathrooms is due to the large number of students who must be accommodated. It seems that organizations have spread from extremist conservatives in Florida to Worcester County via such groups as “Moms for Liberty.”
Brenda Barbado touted this organization at least three or four times by name and claimed it was nonpartisan. This could not be further from the truth. Look it up, but you may find that the founder of the group is involved in her own sordid affairs. The founder is Bridget Ziegler, the wife of Florida Republican Party Chairman Christian Ziegler. Public Schools are to be made available to all children. And all children should be treated kindly and with respect. We do not have to agree with their religious views or sexual orientation even if we don’t understand it or agree with it.
What I say to these outside groups or individuals, who like Bobby Cowger, are running for office so they can impose their beliefs on us, is please show kindness, empathy and charity to everyone. No one is hurting you or your children. If you want a particular religious viewpoint taught, please send your child to a private school. Allow teachers, parents and children the same consideration as you seek. Allow us freedom of speech and the right to read books that we believe show empathy, kindness and consideration for all. Stop using inflammatory words such as indoctrination when you have not one single piece of evidence to show it is happening. Because it isn’t. And by the way, I sincerely doubt that most students are reading the 56 books or so that you object to. But if you put them all in one place, I’m sure they will find them. I believe that your creation of a problem when there is none is only to get a foothold in the door for you to try to impose restrictions on the rights and freedoms of public schools when views do not conform to yours.
The hypocrisy shown by these groups that so often claim to be the victims of too much government is that they are trying to use the Board to restrict the rights of parents, teachers and children to read and express views that differ from their own. We cannot allow this to happen.
Jan L. Adamchak
Irony Exists Behind Book Ban Requests
As an ardent supporter of Free Speech, the movement to ban books in our Public Schools angers me dearly. I stand in full support of the Maryland Association of School Librarians who seek to provide access to literature for all, regardless of content. I admire the many Teachers and residents of Worcester County who are determined to see that our kids get a well-balanced education and one that will provide real life skills that they will need to function and prosper in society. The creation of organizations like Tom Simon’s Worcester United gives me hope and encouragement that the very vocal minority will not succeed in robbing our kids of reading materials of their choice.
In a day and age when we are lucky if kids are bothering to read anything at all, we should be doing what we can to expand the wonders of reading to our population. The closed-minded demand for book bans makes me cringe. Nobody will ever convince me that our society would be better served if kids were not allowed to read classics such as: A Catcher in the Rye, Huckleberry Finn, Tom Sawyer, Anne Frank, Beloved, Call of The Wild, Gone with the Wind, The Kite Runner, 1984, The Color Purple, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Outsiders, Handmaid’s Tale, and even Charlotte’s Web.
The Moms for Liberty group, which has made its way to the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of hate groups, has an agenda that is not much to do about liberty, but rather taking the rights and freedoms away from those they differ. Book bans and censorship are wrong and have no place in a free and just society.
My observations of the library controversy (how sad that a library could be controversial) are that we have countless advocates of book banning who may be the biggest hypocrites I have ever witnessed in my life. This is a rather harsh statement, so I would like to explain.
Again, Free Speech is near and dear to me. Personally, I absolutely despise seeing the countless political signs in town, especially when it is not even election season. There is the guy who thinks it is funny and patriotic to place ugly signs on our beach deifying our twice impeached former president. Then there are some very wealthy yacht owners who fly their flags displaying their hatred for our current president. We are a family friendly town, yet we have these flags that display the foulest of language that should trouble just about any sane person. Why should a parent have to explain to their kids why the former president equates to no additional bovine excrement or why it is acceptable to use the F word to our current president? I think these actions are childish and even contribute to the decline of tourism in town. But, it is free speech and while I detest it, I respect their rights to act like morons.
However, I have noticed the folks that display these objectionable and profane flags happen to be the very same people that are calling for book bans. I find this to be ironic and even a tad humorous if it were not so infuriating. Apparently, it is ok for a yacht owner to display the F word on a flag to all in Ocean City, yet a kid should not be able to read Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye because of the use of the same word? How absurd.
You book banners need to get a dose of realism. This is 2023, not 1923. But, I do thank you for helping me with my Christmas shopping list this year because each time you place a new book on your target list, I gain a new gift idea. Again, more irony.