A man has sued the Sarasota County school board in Florida for allegedly “purchasing and propagating obscene, lewd, and lascivious materials for distribution to children” through the county’s school libraries.
The school board’s lawyer has called the lawsuit “ridiculous.”
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The lawsuit, filed by a man named Robert Craft, requested a court-issued emergency injunction to stop school libraries from offering 50 different book titles. He wants the county sheriff to remove the books from school libraries as evidence and wanted a grand jury to issue a criminal indictment against the school board.
“The Defendant has repeatedly ignored the public outcry for the removal and censorship of explicitly sexual materials from public schools,” his lawsuit says. “The Defendant’s failure to take action establishes a public mental health crisis by facilitating sexually demonstrative materials to undeveloped minds.”
Craft’s list of “obscene” books includes LGBTQ titles including Susan Kuklin’s Magenta: A Transgender Teen Speaks Out, Allison Bechdel’s Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic, Maia Kobabe’s Gender Queer, Jessica Herthel’s and Jazz Jennings’s I Am Jazz, and Jonathan Evison’s Lawn Boy. It also contains such titles as Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye and Ibram Kendi’s How to be an Antiracist as well as biographies from former First Lady Michelle Obama and Black Olympic championship sprinter Wilma Rudolph.
Craft told WZVN-TV that he has not read many of the books on his list and wasn’t sure why some of the above titles were included on it. He also said that he found the book list on the internet, though he couldn’t remember from where.
The suit also says that making such books available is no different from having sexual intercourse in front of children inside of classrooms. It also says that the school board’s actions are trying to incite “clandestine warfare” and an insurrection against the public.
He further alleged that the school board has ignored citizen complaints about the books, has called parents “liars,” and also used police to remove concerned parents from board meetings.
School board lawyer Daniel DeLeo called Craft’s lawsuit “ridiculous,” adding, “It’s rife with error. It has no legal merit at all.”
Republican politicians, conservative school boards, and so-called “parents’ rights” groups have dramatically escalated attempts to ban so-called “controversial” books from school, according to a recent report from the free-speech organization PEN America.
Moms for Liberty, one of the national conservative groups pushing to ban LGBTQ books, has started pressuring public school libraries across the country to “accept book donations from conservative publishing companies that promote white supremacist, homophobic, and transphobic ideologies,” Vice News reported.