A concerned community member reached out to Parents Defending Education and provided an article from the Putnam County Press/Times explaining that Carmel Central School District’s Board of Education voted to keep the book Gender Queer in the district’s libraries. Parents spoke out against the book at a Board of Education meeting on September 6, 2022, according to the article. The Board had previously voted 5-2 to keep the book in libraries. Gender Queer contains graphic illustrations of sexual activity.
The community member who reached out to PDE also raised concerns about the librarian of Carmel High School using her position to promote political issues with students. The Twitter account for Carmel High School’s library explains that it is managed by the librarian The library’s Twitter account retweeted a post in 2021 that promoted a queer book festival: “Author Steven Salvatore had never seen a book festival devoted solely to queer books and authors—so he and Jacob Demlow created one: Pride Book Fest.”
In a tweet on April 12, 2021, the library tweeted: “So pumped for a full(er) house tomorrow! Spruced up the library entrance to get ready.” The tweet includes an image of 60 books with some promoting political causes. Examples of books in the tweet’s image include Stamped: Racism, Anti-Racism, and You and The Book of Pride. The book Stamped is written by political activists Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi and is known for promoting racial equity as a way to deal with perceived oppression. The Book of Pride encourages young people to advocate for LGBTQ issues. Amazon explains in its description of the book: “THE BOOK OF PRIDE not only honors an important chapter in American history, but also empowers young people today (both LGBTQ and straight) to discover their own courage in order to create positive change.”
In another tweet on September 30, 2020, the school’s library posted on Twitter to “Support #BannedBooksWeek.” The library states in the tweet: “Pick up a banned book at the library or tag a banned author on Twitter to show them they have your support.”
Supporters of inappropriate material in school libraries often falsely label the act of ensuring that reading material is age appropriate in schools as banning books.
The school’s librarian has used the library’s Instagram account to promote the book Stamped in multiple posts. In one post, she states: “For anyone who is with me on an antiracist journey, stop by the library and I’ll show you some good books.” Pins that state “Black Lives Matter” can also be seen in the post’s image. In another post dated March 23, 2021, the librarian appeared to proudly call students “woke.” In the same post, she also appeared to show support for the Black Lives Matter movement.