A man from Fort Worth, Texas, was forcibly removed from a school board meeting this week when he began to read sexually explicit excerpts from a book that was available to students in school libraries.
Mike Cee was escorted out of the Fort Worth Independent School District meeting for quoting passages from “Flamer,” a graphic novel by Mike Curato about a boy named Aiden who “can’t stop thinking about” another boy, Elias, and “finds himself on a path of self-discovery and acceptance.”
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The book — which employs graphic language to chronicle a teenager’s sexual experiences over the course of the summer between middle and high school — has been challenged at least 62 times due to its graphic content, according to the American Library Association.
As Cee began reading text from the book, he was almost immediately interrupted by a board member who repeatedly slammed her gavel, rebuking the man for reading the vulgar quotes, and demanding law enforcement officers remove him from the space.
The irony, of course, is the book was once available in the district’s elementary and middle school libraries.
According to The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, “Flamer” was removed from library shelves this summer. And all district libraries will be closed for the first two weeks of the school year so administration officials can review the books therein and pull any age-inappropriate content to comply with a new Texas state law, H.B. 900, set to take effect Sept. 1.
Some defended Cee as he was being escorted out of the meeting space.
“Unconstitutional,” said one attendee, while another declared, “He’s not breaking the law!”
Some of the speakers at the Tuesday meeting thanked the school board members for pulling some 100 books deemed inappropriate from library shelves.
Kenya Alu, executive director of the Tarrant County chapter of Citizens Defending Freedom and an advocate for removing the controversial books, said she and her group are not in favor of outright banning books, although they have been portrayed as such by opponents.
“To those who label us as book banners, let me be clear,” she said. “We are not for banning books, we’re for protecting children. Just as movies have ratings and require an adult to accompany a child to an R-rated movie, we are simply asking the same for books.”
The new state law will require some book to be removed altogether while others will require parental consent before students are permitted to check them out.
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