News (USA)

Rightwing mom was so outraged by this book about book banning that she got it banned from school

Rightwing mom was so outraged by this book about book banning that she got it banned from school
Photo: Macmillan

In a decision dripping with irony, a Florida school board has banned a book about book banning from the district’s libraries.

Ban This Book, a children’s title by Alan Gratz, was removed from shelves in Indian River County school libraries after the county’s school board voted 3-2 to ban it.

Published in 2017, the story follows 4th grader Amy Anne Ollinger as she tries to check out her favorite book, which she learns was banned after a classmate’s parent thought it was inappropriate.

Amy then creates a secret banned-books library, according to Gratz’s description, walking into “an unexpected battle over book banning, censorship, and who has the right to decide what she and her fellow students can read.”

Enter Indian River County Moms for Liberty chair Jennifer Pippin, who played the aggrieved parent alleging Ban This Book was inappropriate.

Pippin challenged the Indian River County School Board to remove the title, enlisting two members, Jacqueline Rosario and Gene Posca, who received Moms for Liberty endorsements in their campaigns for school board seats.

The third “yes” vote came from member Kevin McDonald, who was recently appointed to the board by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R).

Moms for Liberty, co-founded by disgraced Sarasota School Board member Bridget Ziegler, has been a vocal supporter of DeSantis, while DeSantis was instrumental in appointing Ziegler’s husband Christian to head the Florida Republican Party. Christian Ziegler was kicked out as party chairman amid allegations of rape and a “swinger” lifestyle with wife Bridget.

In the formal motion banning Ban This Book, members said they disliked how it referenced other books that had been removed from schools. More than that, the book was “teaching rebellion of school-board authority,” the board wrote.

The vote to ban Ban This Book overrode the district’s book-review committee, which had earlier vetted the children’s title and decided to keep it on library shelves.

Author Gratz told the Tallahassee Democrat that the vote was “incredibly ironic.”

“They banned the book because it talks about the books that they have banned and because it talks about book banning,” he said. “It feels like they know exactly what they’re doing and they’re somewhat ashamed of what they’re doing and they don’t want a book on the shelves that calls them out.”

According to PEN America, approximately 86% of all book bans in the U.S. have occurred in school districts with a local chapter of anti-LGBTQ+ groups including Moms for Liberty, Citizens Defending Freedom (CDF), and Parents’ Rights in Education.

The free speech advocacy group cites 4,349 book bans in the first half of the 2023-2024 school year — the majority targeting books with LGBTQ+ content — a number shattering previous records.

Had the vote taken place a few months earlier, Pippin would have failed in her efforts.

Board Member McDonald replaced Brian Barefoot, a Democrat who resigned when he moved out of the Indian River County School District — or so he thought. Barefoot learned the next day that his new home was, in fact, in the same school district. He rescinded his resignation.

He never heard back from the board.

Don't forget to share:

Support vital LGBTQ+ journalism

Reader contributions help keep LGBTQ Nation free, so that queer people get the news they need, with stories that mainstream media often leaves out. Can you contribute today?

Cancel anytime · Proudly LGBTQ+ owned and operated

Former Trump campaign lawyer says people should burn all Pride flags to counter “evil agenda”

Previous article

Gaza Strip & the West Bank are now part of the horrific history of concentration camps

Next article