A conservative group called “Moms for Liberty” (as if the name alone wasn’t a dead giveaway as to its political bent) has been pushing for Tennessee’s Williamson County School District to ban a number of books that they claim are inappropriate for children.
Not even their children. Just children. The books, as they always are with these kinds of groups, aren’t inappropriate in any way. They just discuss the changing climate, science, and sexy sexy seahorses.
While the initial protests in question occurred back in June, the Daily Beast’s Kelly Weill took a closer look at what they’re against based in part on a letter sent to the school board:
Accompanying that letter is an 11-page spreadsheet with complaints about books on the district’s curriculum, ranging from popular books on civil rights heroes to books about poisonous animals (“text speaks of horned lizard squirting blood out of its eyes”), Johnny Appleseed (“story is sad and dark”), and Greek and Roman mythology (“illustration of the goddess Venus naked coming out of the ocean…story of Tantalus and how he cooks up, serves, and eats his son.”) A book about hurricanes is no good (“1st grade is too young to hear about possible devastating effects of hurricanes”) and a book about owls is designated as a downer. (“It’s a sad book, but turns out ok. Not a book I would want to read for fun,” an adult wrote of the owl book in the spreadsheet.)
At one juncture, the group implores the school district to include more charitable descriptions of the Catholic Church when teaching a book about astronomer Galileo Galilei, who was persecuted by said church for suggesting that Earth revolves around the sun.
“Where is the HERO of the church?” the group’s spreadsheet asks…
MFL’s Williamson County chapter also takes issue with a picture book about seahorses, in part because it depicted “mating seahorses with pictures of postions [sic] and discussion of the male carrying the eggs.”
You can see their spreadsheet here and here.
By their logic, discussing anything the Church has done over the past millennia (much less more recently) would be unfair unless there’s a “both sides” approach to things like the Crusades and the Inquisition. Showing illustrations of seahorses mating — which is boring even in real life — would apparently traumatize children. And teaching mythology and depictions of gods and goddesses can’t occur without getting rid of the nudity John Ashcroft style.
These kinds of people always complain about the public schools, but it’s clear they’re not in any position to home-school their kids either since those children would miss out on quite a bit of education. Anything that could loosely be seen, by deranged people, as “anti-Christian” would be out of the curriculum.
This isn’t hypothetical either. In June, members of the group’s local chapter showed up to school board meetings to complain about the damn seahorses:
A mom 4 “Liberty” is upset a textbook teaches how seahorses mate… yes, seriously. #WilliamsonSchoolBoard pic.twitter.com/e89dDmUC3G
— The Tennessee Holler (@TheTNHoller) June 22, 2021
You can see the entire book here. It’s fine for kids. There’s nothing problematic in it.
The group’s co-founders, Tina Descovich and Tiffany Justice, made names for themselves over the past year by doing everything in their power to make sure COVID spreads in schools by challenging sensible mask mandates and demanding that schools open even when the virus isn’t under control.
And now they’ve clearly embraced the group’s role as yet another batshit crazy group of Republican “moms” who offer nothing of substance but want to make local schools as ineffective as possible… so they can later complain about how awful public schools are. These groups are a dime a dozen and none of them make any positive contributions to education or culture. But media outlets routinely give them uncritical publicity because they act on a local level and stir shit up at school board meetings.
(Thanks to everyone for the link)