Drag for Fifth Graders at HSE Schools
The current HSE Superintendent has no comment
The book Middle School’s a Drag, You Better Werk! by Greg Howard is currently in the libraries of HSE Intermediate and Riverside Intermediate. This book tells the story of some middle school kids who become involved in the world of sexualized cross-dressing (“drag”). The protagonist repeatedly goes online to learn more about the world of drag. This will, of course, encourage young readers to do likewise, which is likely to expose them to harmful content. The book also recommends “Dragutante,” an organization that holds events in which children are encouraged to perform in drag shows. You can see more at the website for this organization here.
It is obvious that the public school should not be promoting sexualized cross-dressing to fifth-grade children. So, when I found that this book was present in two HSE schools, I reached out to the principals and librarians who were involved, specifically:
Jagga Rent (HSE Intermediate Principal)
JoyAnn Boudreau (HSE Intermediate Librarian)
Dana Kaminiski (Riverside Intermediate Principal)
John Hochstetler (Riverside Media Specialist)
I asked them four questions:
Were you aware that this book was in your library?
Do you stand by your decision to shelve this book in your library?
Do you believe it is appropriate to promote drag to eleven-year-old children?
Who decided to acquire this book?
I received only one response: Mr. Rent offered to meet with me in person. When I explained to him that I’d be insisting on answers to these four questions, on the record, he cancelled our meeting and referred me to Emily Abbotts, who does PR for the district. As I had no interest in what Ms. Abbotts had to say, I did not email her. But I soon received an email from Ms. Abbotts anyway. She confirmed that the book in question “is listed for ages 10-13 and grades 5-6.”
After this, I emailed Superintendent Yvonne Stokes about the matter, asking her simply: “Do you hold the opinion that it is appropriate for a public school to encourage 10 year old children to engage in sexualized cross-dressing?” She also did not answer. That was over two weeks ago.
You see, my issue here is not really about this book. My issue is with the HSE employees who who cannot answer a simple question about whether they want to sexualize the children in their care. These people have authority over our little kids on a day-to-day basis. I could submit a complaint about this one book. But whatever happens to this particular book, the employees who want to sexualize children will remain in place, free to continue their pursuit of this bizarre agenda.
We can see this very clearly in the case of one of the librarians involved, JoyAnn Boudreau. She hosted the “anal sex talk for fourth graders” webinar last year. In late March, she clearly stated that she would be boycotting Follett—the company that provides books and library software to our schools—because Follett was trying to develop a system that would allow parents to decide what books their own children would be allowed to read. Here’s what Ms. Boudreau said:
In other words, Ms. Boudreau will not spend your tax money to buy books from Follett because she wants to reserve your tax money to support companies that wish to join her in undermining your authority over your own children. What an outrage.
Activists like Ms. Boudreau were ultimately successful in convincing Follett to change course. The parental notification and filtering features they were developing will not be added to their software. Ms. Boudreau can therefore continue to promote sexualized materials to little kids without detection and against the wishes of parents.
I want to stress here that the problem I’m trying to bring to your attention is not a single book at two schools. (In fact, I found seven books about drag across nine schools—this book is just the worst example.) Rather, the problem is people like this who have an abiding desire and intention to push fringe ideas about sexuality on little children. I don’t relate with it. I don’t understand it. But we need to acknowledge that there’s a significant problem here that goes well beyond the symptom of a few books. People who want to sexualize little children in this way cannot continue to have authority over them. The good people of our community cannot allow it.
November is coming. We need to elect a Board that is willing to take action on this absolutely jaw-dropping craziness. The current Board is tolerating this nonsense. Current Board Member Janet Pritchett, who is up for re-election this November, was literally speaking in favor of keeping porn available in the library for little kids just a few months ago. I encourage you to do everything you can, and especially spread the word to your friends, family, and neighbors about the importance of the upcoming Board election in November.