Hillsborough schools ban "This book is gay" from all middle schools

Hillsborough Schools have banned a book from middle school libraries that they called "inappropriate" for young students.

"This book is gay," is by English author Juno Dawson, who has said, "It's a manual to all areas of life as an LGBTQ person.

The parent of a kindergartner in the district took exception to the book's inclusion at the Pierce Middle School library, and challenged it for a third time after two lower boards found it was acceptable to include in Pierce Middle's selection of voluntarily checked out books.

"How is this appropriate for a sixth grader?" said the parent who filed the challenge, Stephanie Ascot. "I am saddened this has become a political issue. It has become political challenged. That is not the intent of the challenge. It has to do with protecting our kids."

A Hillsborough County school library 

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Of the nearly 60 speakers, opinions were mixed. None were from Pierce, but only three students spoke. One said it was OK for young teens to hear the nitty-gritty.

"If sixth graders are old enough to learn about heterosexual sex and heterosexual lifestyles, then they should be old enough to learn about homosexual sex and homosexual lifestyles. And it is your job to give them access to that knowledge," said one speaker. 

The board voted 4-3 to remove the book not just from Pierce, but to ban it from all middle schools. 

Board members said it was simply not age appropriate, given it is self-described as having the "ins and outs of gay sex," and contains guides to online dating.

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"The librarian was asked to find information for LGBTQ kids," said board member Dr. Stacy Hahn. "This is the only book she could find that was a how-to on have a how to have sex? I can't believe that."

Pierce was the only middle school that had it in its collection.

Of the two copies they had, one was checked out and not returned, the other is considered lost.

One high school has a copy of the book, which is said by the publisher to be for those in grades 10-12.