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Children's book banned for some CMS students after parent complaints

The book was banned in accordance with the Parents' Bill of Rights.

MECKLENBURG COUNTY, N.C. — The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools district is adding another book to its list of banned books this year. 

This time it’s a children's book titled "Red: A Crayon’s Story."

The book is no longer allowed for kids in grades K-4; this comes after complaints about the content of the book were challenged under the Parent's Bill of Rights. 

The law was passed by the Republican-controlled General Assembly after it overrode a veto by Gov. Roy Cooper. It bans most sexual education topics for kids in kindergarten to fourth grades and requires schools to tell parents when a child requests a change to their name or pronouns.

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CMS is one of the first districts in the state to start making policy changes to comply with the law. The school board voted 7-2 on Tuesday night to comply with the law.

"We received concerns from parents and guardians about the book as it relates to the Parents Bill of Rights, specifically, age-appropriate instruction for grades kindergarten through fourth grade. Upon further review, the book has been removed," a CMS spokesperson said.

CMS said the book was not part of its general academic curriculum. Instead, it was part of an agreement between the Office of Civil Rights, located within the U.S. Department of Education, and CMS to provide Title IX lessons. 

Title IX is the civil rights law that prohibits sex-based discrimination in schools. 

"The school district is required to provide Title IX lessons to all our students in an ag law was passed by the Republican-controlled General Assembly after it overrode a veto by Gov. Roy Cooper. e-appropriate manner," the CMS spokesperson said. "For our kindergarten students, a children's book titled 'Red: A Crayon’s Story' was selected to share ideas about differences and acceptance." 

It's not clear how many, but CMS said parents challenged the book being read in the classroom, arguing its content in the book was against the Parents' Bill of Rights. 

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The picture book, published in 2015, has been banned or challenged by other school districts. 

According to its publisher, the book by author Michael Hall centers around a crayon with a bright red label, but he is, in fact, blue. The crayon teacher, parents, and classmates all try to help him be red.

When this doesn't work, a pair of scissors tries to help him be red by snipping his label. Eventually, the red crayon discovers what readers have known all along: It's blue. 

The lesson, according to the book’s publishers, is finding the courage to be true to your inner self. The book never explicitly mentions anything about sexuality or gender identity, which is currently banned under the Parents Bill of Rights. 

The district didn’t reveal what school the book was read aloud in before it was removed or if the staff member who read the book could be facing any consequences.

Contact Shamarria Morrison at smorrison@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookX and Instagram. 

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