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  • Laura Knudsen

The Sexualization of our Children in School Part One: Books

Selecting books for our school libraries and classrooms has become politicized, to the detriment of our children and, in turn, our public schools. In recent years, publishers of literature for children and young adults have begun producing books laden with explicit sexual content and foul language.


If you dare suggest this is not appropriated for children, you are called a “Book Banner” - a

fascist trying to limit viewpoints. When actually, all that is being asked is that material deemed not appropriate by the FCC for public air waves not be available to our children in school.


We’ve seen the videos of school boards listening to parents and community members read excerpts from these books. The board members squirm with discomfort, averting their eyes in embarrassment. Sometimes the parent is gaveled down or physically removed from these school board meetings because the passages are deemed inappropriate for public consumption. Then, how are they appropriated for children?


The creep of our culture’s sexualization of our children into schools has consequences. By exposing children to this explicit material, they are being sexually groomed. In the September 28, 2022 issue of Psychology Today, the article “The 5 Stages of Predatory Sexual Grooming” points to desensitizing a child as a predatory step in the grooming of a victim. The article explains “Offenders might discuss sexualized topics, such as telling inappropriate jokes or providing sexual education, or having sexual conversations.” The explicit literature in our schools is doing the work for the perverts. It is unacceptable.


The grooming by educators may be unintentional, but the public is demanding our schools be intentional about protecting minors. Unfortunately, it is falling on deaf ears. Parents should be able to drop off their students at a public school without worrying about their children being exposed to explicit sexual content.


Keeping the culture of our schools safe from sexualization is imperative to keeping students safe. Researchers of a multistate survey of 6,632 recent high school graduates, published in Sage Journals, found sexual misconduct by educators common. Of the participants, 11.7% reported having experienced at least one form of educator sexual misconduct during grades K-12. This conduct includes sexual comments, being given sexual photos, being sent sexual messages, being touched in a sexual manner and sexual intercourse. Students who have experienced this reprehensible misconduct report lowered psychological well-being, use of drugs and alcohol, and attempts at suicide.


As a director on the Alexandria Area School Board in central Minnesota, I am appalled that explicit and foul books are on our shelves. One might expect this in a metropolitan school but not even children in outstate rural Minnesota are safe from the assault of this cultural degradation.


One such example is the book “Sold” by Patricia McCormick. It graphically tells the story of a young girl sold into sex slavery to pay off her family’s debt. In it are multiple detailed descriptions of the girl being raped and the devastating emotional and physical toll it takes on the child. “I’m torn and bleeding where the men have been” the child protagonist explains.


Recently, a parent submitted a request for the book to be removed. A secret committee was formed who read the book and discussed it out of public view. The clandestine group

determined that the context of the book served a role in education. The review council, who cannot be named, found the book did not desensitize sexual abuse, normalize rape or promote the acceptance of prostitution, so the book should stay on the shelves of our middle school.


Having decided the book is not a problem, the committee then decided a parent’s permission should be required before the challenged book is checked out of the library. Huh? But I thought the book wasn’t problematic?


This same book was challenged five years ago. Parents of eighth grade students participating in a required social issues book club brought the book “Sold” to the school board, read the obscene and graphic passages out loud, then submitted a request for its removal. The book was taken out of the choices of book options for the book club but remained in the library.


I guess we are making progress. The book will still be in the library but it will be locked in a

closet or hidden beneath the check-out desk in a paper bag only to be released if a student receives permission from a parent to read it. Well, that is my assumption anyway. The school administration doesn’t have a system or plan for how the parent permission process will work.

Parents shouldn't have. to worry about explicit materials in schools.

There is one last hope of removing this one offensive book. The parent who submitted the

challenge has appealed the decision of the super-secret committee. Now the final decision rests with the Alexandria School Board, who will have the opportunity to vote to remove the book at the September 25, 2023 regular meeting of the board. This is the last chance for leadership to be shown and for the book that describes repeated acts of pedophilia to be removed from our school shelves.


The lack of leadership in our public schools across our nation is appalling. Principals and Superintendents hide behind bureaucratic process, so no one seems responsible for having books with explicit and foul content in schools. Instead of standing up to keep our children safe from being sexualized, they cower.


What or rather who are they afraid of?



Additional Resources:


Website: Book Looks Easy to understand book content reviews centered around objectionable content, including profanity, nudity, and sexual content. Our goal is to make these reviews available to all parents so they can make informed decisions.


Website: Mom's for America FCC Standards Bill



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