The National Coalition Against Censorship has written to the Fairview School District School Board in Fairview, Pennsylvania, regarding a recent decision to remove Maia Kobabe’s Gender Queer from the Fairview High School library.
It appears that the decision was made unilaterally by Superintendent Erik Kincade, circumventing district policy, which explicitly states that book challenges must be adjudicated by a committee of professionals. In an e-mail shared with media, Dr. Kincade expressed that he “[did] not feel the need to create a committee to help with these book selections.”
Policies like the one ignored in Fairview are in place to protect the rights of students to read and are designed to be thoughtful and intentional, including input from a broad range of stakeholders and requiring reviewers to evaluate books in their entirety, rather than on the basis of passages taken out of context. A library should offer a broad selection of books that provide value to all of its students. Gender Queer has won several awards and been positively reviewed. Dr. Kincade’s personal feelings about it are not relevant to whether it should be available to students.
NCAC urges Dr. Kincade to uphold the Fairview School District’s commitment to expanding opportunities for students’ intellectual engagement. NCAC urges the school board to return Gender Queer to the library and allow for a formal review in accordance with district policies.
Please read our full letter to the school district below.