News Seattle

Seattle Pride's Statement on Kent School Board Considering Banning LGBTQ+ Themed Books

Jun 07, 2022 | Seattle Pride

In February of this year, the Principal of Cedar Heights Middle School in Kent removed "Jack of Hearts (and other parts)" by Lev A.C. Rosen (and other books) from the library. The book was the subject of a February 9th Kent School Board meeting and while it is still available, the Kent School District's Instructional Materials Committee has voted in favor of the banning of 'Jack of Hearts'.

This is another attempt to target a marginalized population under the guise of 'protecting children'. It is not an accident that the only books being questioned feature queer people and themes. Queer representation in literature is important and matters to our queer students.

We know this isn't an isolated incident. According to The Guardian, more than 1,500 book bans have been instituted in US school districts, where 33% “explicitly address LGBTQ+ themes, or have protagonists or prominent secondary characters who are LGBTQ+”, according to PEN America, who also found that the three most frequently banned titles all are centered on LGBTQ+ individuals, “or touch on the topic of same-sex relationships”.

The Board and Staff of Seattle Pride firmly stand against the action of Principal Erika Hanson, and encourage the Kent School District to live up to its claim that, "... we believe every KSD student, family, and staff member deserves a respectful, welcoming, and inclusive learning environment where their diversity is recognized, valued, and contributes to their success." Libraries are not inclusive when LGBTQIA+ students cannot find themselves reflected in the books and materials on the shelves. When LGBTQIA+ youth are more than four times as likely to attempt suicide than their peers, it is imperative that our educators, librarians, and school administrative staff provide a safe, welcoming space for them to form positive views of themselves.

We call on the Kent School Board to reverse this decision immediately.

Read the Advocacy Alert

Click HERE to read the Advocacy Alert.
(Contains emails for the Kent School Board.)

Take Action

The Kent School Board meets on Wednesday, June 8th at 7PM at 12033 SE 256th Street, Kent, WA 98030. Please consider signing up to make a Public Comment; you're allowed three (3) minutes, and you don't have to speak the entire time allotted.

The meeting starts at 7PM, but folks are encouraged to show up early (6PM) to sign up to speak, meet each other, etc.

Link to the agenda:
You can find the agenda on the left side of the Kent Board page.