A recently elected Pennsylvania school board president made his priorities clear this month when she was sworn in using controversial books, including sexually explicit material.
On Dec. 4, Karen Smith, a Democrat who was elected to lead the state’s third-largest school district in November, was sworn in with a stack of books, including sexually explicit material.
“Thank you for your trust in me, I do not take this hand lightly,” Smith said when she became president of the Central Bucks County School Board. “To my supporters, I am so very thankful. To those of you who have challenged me, I will do all I can to hear your voices and concerns.”
However, based on the books upon which she swore an oath, Smith’s pledge to keep an open mind to parental concerns was hardly austere.
According to Fox News, one of the books used in the swearing ceremony included Flamer, by Mike Curato, published in 2020.
“[Flamer] tells the story of a character who is bullied at a Boy Scouts summer camp for ‘acting in a manner considered stereotypical of gay men,'” Fox News reported. “The graphic novel includes characters discussing pornography, erections, masturbation, penis size, and an illustration that depicts naked teenage boys.”
Other books included in the stack upon which she was sworn in were Night, by Elie Wiesel; The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison; and All Boys Aren’t Blue, by George M. Johnson. At least three of the books Smith was sworn in on were listed in the top 5 of the American Library Association’s (ALA) “most challenged books” of 2022. The national library group’s activism promoting these books in local curriculums has led conservative policymakers in at least nine states to begin severing ties with the ALA. Last week, Texas, which ended its tax-subsidized affiliation with the ALA in August, passed new rules to keep “sexually explicit” books out of school libraries.
Smith’s decision to use material endorsed by far-left activists to infiltrate classrooms illustrates how identity politics has become embraced as a cynical, secular religion. Had Smith been genuine with a pledge to hear district parents’ concerns, she might have chosen different material to be sworn in on.
Silvi Haldipur, a mom of two boys in Bucks County schools, said she was previously “horrified” by LGBT and antisemitic remarks in the boardroom of the east Pennsylvania district. However, parents in this district could have more difficulty being involved in their children’s education moving forward. The school board’s new Democrat majority immediately voted to “freeze two policies related to library books that passed last year along with other policies.” This includes halting a previous update to the Library Materials policy that allowed parents to challenge certain books in the classroom.