For all the negative societal impacts attributed to social media, it turns out there are a few benefits to alternative media. One Texas mom's viral video about pornographic school library books is the latest example.
Parents who oppose objectionable material in schools are often relegated to the sidelines by school officials who convince them that no one else cares, the material is standard, or the book has won awards and is on the approved list of XYZ authority on children's literature. Getting taken seriously is an uphill battle. Many parents become demoralized, isolated, and stop complaining.
But when parents see other parents speaking truth to power, the effect is, well, powerful.
A mom in Fairfax, Virginia saw a video of a mom in Texas complaining about these books, and that's how she got the idea of checking her school library. Her fears were confirmed when she learned that the objectionable books are in fact available in school libraries open to students as young as 11.
How can this happen, you ask? How can inappropriate books be shelved in school libraries and classrooms across the country? Aren't parents watching? Doesn't anyone vet and approve the books?
The answer is simple: it's complicated.
Generally, the process for having books approved for the library or classroom use involves some level of "community input." But when you have a school board that's made up of progressive school board members, the people that they're going to select from the community are people who reflect their progressive values. This means that the parent or community voice on those book approval boards tend to have a similar philosophy and social goals.
In the same way that Silicon Valley is captured by one dominant type thinking -- progressive -- so is the nation's educational infrastructure. Their ability to understand the radical nature of some of the material is diminished because they are trapped inside their own woke bubble.
Parents can see that a book like the book that mom read on Thursday is wildly inappropriate for students of any age. That particular book is not even appropriate for adults. And the fact that some of the school board members would defend this book by saying that it's only available for high school students shows just how much parental supervision is required for our nation's schools.
In FRC's latest publication A Concerned Citizen's Guide to Engaging with Public Schools, we explain the potential problems with diversity, equity, and inclusion offerings at the library and in classrooms. One of the most widely used diversity book lists comes from the American Library Association and is updated every year. Publishers realize that this material is in demand by schools, and so more and more titles are offered under this label.
Parents who might otherwise feel isolated can now see that they are not alone. Mothers like the ones in Texas, Virginia, and all over the country are important examples of how to stand up for your own children and all children. They are leading by example, serving as role models for other parents and citizens who want to hold school officials accountable. Their witness can pierce the bubble of radical progressive thinking that's captured the nation's public (and some private) schools. Check your local school's library for objectionable content and share what you find. Sunlight is a powerful disinfectant.