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High School

Virginia Beach School Board to remove ‘Gender Queer’ novel off bookshelves

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – “Gender Queer,” A graphic novel and memoir, written by author Maia Kobabe, has been removed from shelves across Virginia Beach School Division Libraries.

The latest comes following a letter from Schoolboard Chair Carolyn Rye sent to colleagues after the decision.

In the letter obtained by 10 On Your Side Wednesday, Rye detailed the path that lead to the removal of Gender Queer, a book that explores the author’s journey of self-identity.

The letter began by providing a simple overview of Regulation 7-12.1 Section B (8) from the district’s instructional material policy which states that complainants can pursue further action and submit a request to the chairman of the school board.

In this case, the complainant is Virginia Beach School Board Member Victoria Manning. Manning has been at the forefront regarding the battleground over six books, which included “Gender Queer,” deemed “controversial” for students.

Back in December, Manning told 10 On Your Side two of the books, “Good Trouble: Lessons from the Civil Rights Playbook“And”Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out, ” may violate the school’s equity policy, which states curriculum materials “shall be examined for bias by the Department of Teaching and Learning.”

The books were initially reinstated after being at the center of the discussion, however Manning appealed the Chief Academic Officer’s decision for “Gender Queer” which was a first in recent memory, according to Rye’s letter.

According to the Good Read’s description of the novel, it details “the mortification and confusion of adolescent crushes, grappling with how to come out to family and society.”

Additionally, the book description touted the novel as “a useful and touching guide on gender identity – what it means and how to think about it – for advocates, friends, and humans everywhere.”

Rye then convened a workgroup of three of their colleagues, Board Members Jessica Owens, Trenace Riggs, Carolyn Weems, to read the book, deliberate, and provide their written findings and recommendations regarding the future “Gender Queer” on the district’s bookshelves.

The group met twice, on April 6 and May 3, and subsequently recommended removing the book.

Rye ended her letter by stating that work is currently underway to “assess” their policies and regulations pertaining to challenged controversial materials.

Stay on WAVY.com for the latest updates.

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