Shawnee Mission School District changes book complaint process

Mornings

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — The Shawnee Mission School District is changing the way parents complain about controversial books in the school library.

This comes after parents discovered “All Boys Aren’t Blue” by George M. Johnson was on the shelves of high schools in the district.

The book, written by an LGBTQ activist and journalist, details his struggles with coming out during his teenage years and includes graphic sex in some of the passages.

Parents demanded the book be taken out of schools at district headquarters, but now the district wants to alter the process for book complaints.

The process is:

  • Take up concerns with a teacher, librarian or principal at the school
  • Write a request for district review
  • Ask for public hearing with a district committee to make final decision

The idea behind the process is to allow parents to first get the attention of the school and possibly get the book taken down at that level if they agree. If not, they can go up the ladder before it reaches the board of education.

“All Boys Aren’t Blue” is not on the shelves of any elementary schools in the Shawnee Mission School District, but is on the shelves of high schools in the district, and other districts.

The book is not part of any curriculum and while some parents are labeling it as pornography, proponents call it an “accurate representation of a queer man of color” and that it should be available for older students to understand the struggles of the marginalized group.

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