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Palm Coast Friday, Dec. 3, 2021 5 months ago

Woolbright says she'd filed complaint about Black LGBT memoir to support parents' rights

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'There need to be guidelines, policies and procedures, and transparency' about how the district selects books for school media centers, she said.
by: Jonathan Simmons News Editor

School Board member Jill Woolbright says she filed a Sheriff's Office complaint about the presence of the memoir "All Boys Aren't Blue" in school media centers because it contains graphic sexual content and she believes parents should have a choice about whether their children have access to it — not because the book's author, George M Johnson, is Black and queer.

"Our parents need choices. Our parents need to know exactly what we're exposing children to, and I don't think that every child 12 to 18 is emotionally prepared to pick that book up off of the shelf, read it and handle the information that is in that book."

 

— JILL WOOLBRIGHT, School Board member

"I don’t care about the race of anyone or their sexual identity, that isn’t the issue; it's the graphic detail," she said.

"Parents do have rights in the state of Florida," she added. "Families need to know what we're teaching and what materials we're using in Flagler County schools ... and then they can make choices accordingly: They can decide how they want to raise their children and where to put their children in school or even give the opportunity to opt their children out of certain things in our school system."

Woolbright had initially complained about the book to Superintendent Cathy Mittelstadt, prompting district staff to remove the book and several others Woolbright had mentioned from school media centers — "All Boys Aren't Blue" had been at Flagler Palm Coast High School, Matanzas High School and Buddy Taylor Middle School — to conduct a review.

But, saying she was dissatisfied that Mittelstadt hadn't informed other School Board members, Woolbright then went to the Sheriff's Office, stating she believed the book's presence in media centers violated the state law on obscenity.

The Sheriff's Office looked into Woolbright's complaint and found no crime. ("This complaint does not rise to the level of criminal activity,” Sheriff Rick Staly said in a news release.) 

On the radio program, Woolbright said she hadn't filed the complaint to get district media center staff in legal trouble. 

"That’s not the point," she said. "The point is, we need to improve our processes, we need to improve our policy, we need to have direction on how to approve how books get in the media center, and ... to make sure that they are put in media centers that are age-appropriate. ... There need to be guidelines, policies and procedures, and transparency about how all that is taken care of in our district."

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