A Texas mother stood before her school board on Wednesday to complain about the descriptions of anal sex appearing in middle school library books – leading officials to cut off her microphone.
The woman, later identified as Kara Bell, told the Lake Travis Independent School District board on Wednesday that the book Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Perez contained inappropriate language, discussing the idea of a ‘p***y’, anal sex, and saying ‘A Mexican is a Mexican is a Mexican.’
On one page, she said, the book reads: ‘Take her out back, we boys figured, then hands on the titties.
‘Put it in her coin box, put it in her cornhole, grab a hold of that braid, rub that Calico.’
After reading that, Bell said she looked up what a ‘cornhole’ was in this context – only knowing it as the bean bag toss game – and discovered it is a slang term for anal sex.
‘I do not want my children to learn about anal sex in middle school,’ Bell said.
‘I’ve never had anal sex, I don’t want to have anal sex. I don’t want my kids having anal sex,’ she continued. ‘I want you to start focusing on education and not public health.’
Her microphone was soon cut off, but Bell, herself a former school board candidate, according to KXAN, continued to demand the school board remove the book from its libraries, concluding: ‘Do not teach them about anal sex.’
Kara Bell rea descriptions of anal sex in the book Out of Darkness at a Lake Travis Independent School District board meeting on Wednesday
She could be seen in a video demanding the district remove the book from its middle school libraries
The following day, KXAN reports, the Austin-based school district removed the book, Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Perez, and its contents are currently under review.
‘A district possesses significant discretion to determine the content of its school libraries,’ a spokesperson for the district told the news station.
‘A district must, however exercise its discretion in a manner consistent with the First Amendment,’ the spokesperson continued in a statement. ‘A district shall not remove materials from a library for the purpose of denying students access to ideas which the district disagrees.
‘A district may remove materials because they are pervasively vulgar or based solely upon the educational suitability of the books in question.’
It is unclear how long a review of the book will take.
The district removed the book from its school libraries the following day
Out of Darkness chronicles the love affair between an African American boy and a Mexican American girl against the backdrop of a 1937 explosion in East Texas
The decision comes amid an increase in parents confronting school boards about the contents of its library books, according to Jonathan Friedman, the director of free expression and education at Pen America, a nonprofit that defends diversity, inclusion and free expression in literature.
‘Central Texas is one among many areas in the country that have become hot spots for these eruptions of local anger and disagreement,’ he told KXAN, adding: ‘You have a small contingent in many cases of parents who decide that they disagree and that they must know better than those who are in the classroom.’
He said that many books with sexually explicit content have holistic value, teaching a diversity of viewpoints and exposing young people to the realities of the world.
‘I think to pretend books that deal explicitly with sex or sexual assault are in some way a threat to young people are doing them a disservice,’ he said. ‘This is about having access for young people to a wide variety of literature that people from different backgrounds are reflected in.’
Out of Darkness chronicles the love affair between an African American boy and a Mexican American girl against the backdrop of a 1937 explosion in East Texas, which killed 300 schoolchildren and teachers, according to an NBC News article after the book was published.
Perez, the author, said her goal was ‘to tell stories that reflect the marginal experiences by the (African American and Mexican American) characters’ at the historic explosion.