The student newspaper of Washington and Lee University

The Ring-tum Phi

The student newspaper of Washington and Lee University

The Ring-tum Phi

The student newspaper of Washington and Lee University

The Ring-tum Phi

Lexington parents divided over controversial book ban

Lexington City Schools is facing backlash after banning a book that some parents think is sexually explicit. Parents have other issues with the the graphic novel

Lizzy Braman was outraged when she heard about Kiss Number 8. She sent a letter to the school board in early September demanding it be removed.

“It was highly sexualized language, highly sexualized imagery, and then it also brought in a religious aspect as well… I certainly wouldn’t want my children to see that kind of thing at this age,” Braman said in an interview.

The book is an award-winning young adult graphic novel. The main character discovers she is bisexual. Another character is transgender.

Lexington City Schools decided to remove it, citing the novel’s sexually explicit content.

“Our review matched some similar concerns from the parents. This might be too mature. Too edgy,” Lexington City Schools Superintendent Rebecca Walters said.

Some parents disagree with the decision.

“Parents make the decisions about their own children. They cannot make the decisions for other people’s children,” Lexington parent Chris Gravaler said.

Lexington schools have no policy about how books are selected or how they are removed, Walters said. It is up to the librarian to decide what goes into the collection.

“My opinion does not matter. The opinion of this parent does not matter. There needs to be very clear specific, constant, rules for what is and what is not allowed in a middle school library,” Gravaler said.

Lylburn Downing Middle School is one of many schools across the country where parents are organizing to influence what happens in classrooms. The free speech group PEN America said book bans saw a 33% increase last school year compared to the year before.

But Braman said this isn’t about politics.

“It’s easy to complicate it, make it political, make it about sexuality, make it about gender and that’s not really my point at all. Those are issues that I want my child facing when they’re older,” Braman said.

Some parents want more books to be banned. School board chair Tim Diette says creating a policy about book selection and removal is at the top of the agenda at the next school board meeting on Tuesday.

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    Margaret Alexander ‘24Jan 24, 2024 at 8:41 am

    “Chris Graveler”? I believe the professor’s name is Chris Gavaler. Surely you can do better than that, RTP.