More than 400 Fairfax County students call on school board to reject call to remove books

More than 400 Fairfax County Public School students signed off on a letter sent to the school board Thursday. 

The letter calls for the school board to reject calls to remove the books "Gender Queer" by Maia Kobabe and "Lawn Boy" by Jonathan Evison from FCPS libraries. 

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This comes after the school system suspended the books, pending further review following complaints from parents about the content in the books.  

One parent, Stacy Langton, who confronted the FCPS school board in a recent meeting, said the books contained pornography, pedophilia, along with quotes and illustrations of sexual acts.   

"It is as X-rated as it gets," Langton told FOX 5’s Perris Jones Thursday. "This kind of material shouldn’t be in our children’s schools in the first place and I don’t know of any parent who would be in favor of letting their kids have access to that kind of material." 

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Langton added she has no regrets for having brought attention to the books being in FCPS libraries and her aim now is to hold those in power accountable.   

"I’m protecting my own children’s innocence right and I’m also by extension protecting everybody’s children’s innocence." Langton said. "If you’re a gay person and you want to read a biography about a gay individual or someone in history who was gay that’s great, there’s nothing wrong with that, I’m not trying to stop anybody from doing that, but it doesn’t have to be pornographic." 

FCPS students Aaryan Rawal and Frankie Sellars, founded the Pride Liberation Project, the group that sent the letter to the school board. 

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The Pride Liberation Project is a group of students that aim to combat the mental health crisis in LGBTQIA+ youth.  

Rawal and Sellars say they’ve read both books and feel some have misjudged what's in the book. 

"It’s just homophobia." Sellars said. "It’s not a simple pornographic book that we just want in the schools for fun this is actual lives we’re dealing with here."

"We’re really tired of our rights being attacked for political points," Rawal said.

"Gender queer is a beautiful story about someone figuring out their gender identity. Lawn boy is about an underserved student overcoming an incredible amount of obstacles." 

"We do see some references to a character admitting they had sexual intercourse when they were a minor," Rawal said. and in gender queer we do see a couple pictures of a character who is nude but even within those books first of all a lot of other books do the exact same thing in FCPS that are not under criticism and second of all that’s only a small portion of what these books are about. 

FOX 5 received this statement from FCPS regarding the status of the books: 

"FCPS is in the process of convening two committees made up of staff, students and parents led by our Library Services Coordinator to assess the suitability of both texts for inclusion in our high school libraries. The recommendation of the committees will be put forward to the Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Services who will make a final decision as to whether FCPS continues to stock these books."