Spotsylvania County pulling library books with 'sexually explicit content' from schools

Spotsylvania County Public Schools is pulling library books with "sexually explicit content" off the shelves - and some board members say they want to burn them.

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On Monday, the school board took a unanimous, though unplanned vote to pull the books after parents of a high school student came to the meeting to complain about books they found inappropriate. 

The story was first reported by The Free Lance-Star.

The couple was angry about ‘Call Me By Your Name,’ which is about a 17-year-old boy who has an affair with a man, and ‘33 Snowfish,’ a story about homeless children, one of whom has been sexually abused.

The couple was also upset about what they say they found searching terms in the online school library.

"Results for pedophilia, 16. Lesbian, 84," the woman said. "Jesus, 19, but half of them are about Muslims."

Their statements caused some board members to call for a full audit of library books. The board ultimately decided to pull every book with sexually explicit content. 

"I guess we live in a world now that public schools would rather have kids read about gay pornography than Christ," said board member Rabih Abuismail.

Board member Kirk Twigg said he wanted to personally see every book that was pulled.

"I’m sure we’ve got hundreds of people out there who would like to see those books before we burn them," Twigg said at the meeting, which is captured on video.  

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In a phone conversation with FOX 5’s Lindsay Watts, Twigg denied saying he wanted to burn books and called the media dishonest.

Abuismail also said he wanted the books to be burned, but told Watts that he misspoke out of frustration and would prefer the confiscated books be donated to a community library.

School board member Baron Braswell says the idea of burning books is uncalled for. 

"I think it’s really disappointing," said Braswell calling his colleagues comments "chicanery."

He acknowledges the board never defined what kind of books will be removed. He stated during the meeting that what’s offensive to one person, may not be to another and pushed for the board to take more time considering the matter and get a full report from staff. 

However, he too ultimately voted to remove the books. 

"We’re laying those to the side. We haven’t made a decision on whether we need to restore those books next week after we’ve had a chance to talk about it," said Braswell.


Braswell said he supports the review process but doesn’t want to get rid of important literature.

The board will meet Monday to review the books that have been pulled.