Remarkable Gold Award Girl Scout Stands up To Board Bullies

A high school student has confronted censorship after her Gold Award Girl Scout project was altered by the local school board.

Book Bans Book Culture
A businessman looks on in fear as girl scouts stand above him.

Kate Lindley, a Girl Scout from Hanover County, Virginia, received the prestigious Gold Award for her efforts to combat book banning in her community. However, during the acknowledgment of her achievement by the Hanover Board of Supervisors, references to book banning were conspicuously removed from her statement.

Pushing Back Against Book Bans

Lindley’s project, which included installing “Banned Book Nooks” in local businesses and creating a “Free to Read” website, directly responded to the banning of several books by Hanover Schools in 2023. She aimed to expose community members to these banned titles and challenge the stigma surrounding them.

Two girls hold a box labeled "Girl Scout Cookie"
IMAGE VIA CANVA

Four different girls received a Gold Award this year, but the school board changed Lindley’s self-submitted description of her project to remove all mention of banned books. It’s hard to imagine why they would remove the purpose of her project unless the school board is embarrassed about their decision to ban the books.

School Board’s Actions Spark Outrage

The incident sparked outrage in the community. Individuals spoke out in support of Lindley during a public comment session. One speaker said how sad it is that leaders of the county censor a teenager, and another speaker highlighted the difference between the Girl Scouts and the reluctance of Hanover County to embrace change. In her statement, Lindley called out the board for censoring her project, emphasizing that their actions show their fear of confronting uncomfortable truths.

Kate Lindley, Gold Award Girl Scout, reads her original, uncensored commendation to the Hanover County Board of Supervisors 👏
byu/entityinyourroom inbannedbooks

Cold Harbor District Supervisor Michael Herzberg, who played a large role in the removal of references to book banning in Lindley’s award recognition, defended his actions during the public comments. Herzberg said parents can support an author whose message is about pornography to children and, as a board member, he has the right not to support that and also has the right to change what the Girl Scout is recognized for.

Book banning has been a hot topic for schools across the country, with some schools hitting a new record high in the past few years. Many of the banned books include stories of minorities and marginalized groups. Lindley is a perfect example of the next generation refusing to roll over and not taking no for an answer.


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