Powerful Single Vote Rescues Book from Banning in CT Library

A Connecticut school debates the accessibility of a book in their library. Read on to learn more about the reasoning behind it.

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A silhouette of a student walks away in between the bookshelves of their school library.

At Brookfield High School in Connecticut, Board of Education members and citizens of the community gathered to discuss whether Alison Bechdel’s novel Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic should remain on the school’s library shelves. Board of Education member Robert Fischetto taped images from the graphic novel on the wall, which depicted sexually explicit acts, questioning whether this novel had any value to the students at Brookfield High. The fate of this book was in the hands of the board.

A Challenged Book Is Saved

After animated discussion from both sides of the argument, the Board of Education voted 4-3 to deny an appeal to have Bechdel’s graphic novel removed. The board chair, Wendy Youngblood, and members Rosa Fernandes, Stephanie Sikora, and Hala Hourani voted to deny the appeal. Those who wished to remove the book are Joy Greenstein, Robert Fischetto, and Sarah Devine. Sixty people attended the meeting, with one-third speaking on the issue. The same number of people sent in emails, and the majority supported keeping the book on the shelf.

Book jacket of Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic. On a table in front of a wall with ornate wallpaper, both in turquoise hues, is a picture frame of a family portrait in black and white.
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Marc Balanda, the Brookfield High School principal, claimed the best approach to this discussion was to look at the entire context of the book, not just the images pointed out by Fischetto. Overall, trust in the librarians and support in diverse teachings sustained the final ruling.

Historical District Disputes

Some residents were concerned that recent book bans in the district are targeting books specifically with LGBTQ+ material. The last three books removed from the district library all contained LGBTQ+ content, with the previous title being This Books is Gay by Juno Dawson. Other residents claim that any content with sexually explicit material, stating that they would also oppose a sexually explicit book with heterosexual characters and themes as well. Yet, public libraries and schools within the district and throughout Connecticut are consistently challenging, restricting, and banning books with primarily LGBTQ+ content.

Book jacket for This Books is Gay by Juno Dawson. Each line of the pride flag is in line with a word from the title and author.
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The events at Brookfield address the overarching complications of book banning nationally and globally. At what point can a parent interfere with the teachings of a school and other parents? Can one person dictate the decisions of other people? How can the implications of a single vote protect the freedoms of students and community members?


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