Florida School Board Member Called Police After Finding Copies Of 'All Boys Aren't Blue,' A Memoir About Black Queerness
Author George M. Johnson said young people need to feel seen in his book.
November 17, 2021 at 5:24 pm
A school board member in Flagler County, Florida, called police and filed a criminal complaint after finding copies of All Boys Aren’t Blue, a memoir written by activist George M. Johnson that covers same-sex romances, issues of race and sexual assault. After finding the books in three school libraries, Jill Woolbright told police that the schools were distributing “obscene” material, Them reports.
“Some child could be disturbed to read a book that they’re not ready for,” Woolbright told WESH.
The board member also said she doesn't have any problems with the book itself, but she was disturbed by “where the book had been placed.” Woolbright was specifically referring to the two high school libraries and one middle school where the books were found.
Others who agreed with Woolbright said the book, which is about a young man growing up Black and queer, has mature adult content that is not appropriate for children.
"The book violates the law. It doesn't belong there, and the people responsible for putting it here should at least be reprimanded and probably arrested,” Bob Pathright, one of the opponents who spoke up during a Flagler County School Board meeting, said.
Johnson defended his book when he joined the meeting via video. The author advised people to read the entire book before they pass judgment. He added that young people need to feel seen in the books.
— Eastbank Academy Library (@EastbankLibrary) November 16, 2021
"My book provides that for a lot of Black queer youth and non-Black queer youth,” Johnson said.
One parent said Woolbright went too far when she called the police.
"Even if these books were unlawful, does their presence in the library rise to the level of calling the sheriff? Are the words in these texts equivalent to loaded weapons pointed at our heads?” Sue Oleare asked.
A student-led group held a no-censorship rally before the meeting, telling administrators that the book belongs in schools.
“There's no reason why we shouldn't be able to read this,” Robert Baron said.
Organizing a student-led protest, be there! Accepting donations of books from anybody able to distribute at the event. pic.twitter.com/R0uLJM7uuT
— Jack Petocz (@Jack_Petocz) November 13, 2021
School board member Cheryl Massaro said the board cannot do anything about the book right now. Massaro said the case is being reviewed by law enforcement.
According to Them, All Boys Aren’t Blue has been banned from libraries in at least eight states in the U.S.