CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools said it’s reviewing a set of 8,500 books after a parent group flagged a copy the district is calling inappropriate.
The book was found in two high school libraries.
The book is called Let's Talk About It: The Teen's Guide to Sex, Relationships, and Being a Human.
"The books were advertised as appropriate for grades 9-12 (students aged 14-17) based on the first layer of description of the book," said a CMS spokesperson in a statement. "There was no indication of the level of content included in the book."
The publisher of "Let’s Talk About It" describes the book as a comprehensive, thoughtful, well-researched graphic novel guide that is covering relationships, friendships, gender, sexuality, anatomy, body image, safe sex, sexting, jealousy, rejection, sex education and more.
"It is absolutely inappropriate for an educational setting," said Brooke Weiss, the Mecklenburg County Moms for Liberty Chair and a CMS parent.
The book explains and shows illustrations of sexual interactions, body anatomy and more.
"If you want your child to have access to that book, then you can go to Barnes and Noble or Amazon or a bookstore or your public library," Weiss said.
Reviews of the book online describe it as offering comprehensive no-nonsense information on sex and sexuality and say it’s loaded with crucial information about consent, respect, consideration and boundaries.
"I posted the pictures, the same pictures that I sent to all of them [CMS]," Weiss said. "I posted on Facebook, and within 15 minutes, I was censored, the pictures were removed."
CMS said when they were made aware of the "inappropriate books" and took immediate action to remove them from the shelves.
"We have confirmed that two copies of the book were available, one each at Palisades and West Charlotte, and that there is no record of the books being checked out by any students," a CMS spokesperson said.
This is not the first time the book has faced backlash. A Florida chapter of Moms for Liberty, in addition to Republican leaders, was able to get the book removed from a local school.
Weiss said she was made aware of the book after listening to a school board meeting in Alaska where a father was reading excerpts of the book.
She then checked to see if it was made available at any CMS schools.
"I did not ask for the book to be removed," Weiss said. "Crystal Hill made that decision on her own, I just brought it to their awareness."
Crystal Hill is CMS's interim superintendent.
"Crystal Hill was the first person of CMS leadership to take decisive and immediate action to protect our children," Weiss said.
WCNC Charlote requested comments from the authors’ agent, the book publisher and the company that sold the book to CMS. They did not respond to the request.
CMS's full statement:
"We were made aware of the presence of two inappropriate books in the school libraries of Palisades and West Charlotte high schools. District officials took immediate action to remove it from the shelves in accordance with the district's board policy.
We have confirmed that two copies of the book were available, one each at Palisades and West Charlotte, and that there is no record of the books being checked out by any students.
The books came in a bundle of 8,500 from Mackin, an external vendor in preparation for the opening of the new campuses for the 2022-23 school year. The books were advertised as appropriate for grades 9-12 (students aged 14-17) based on the first layer of description of the book. There was no indication of the level of content included in the book. The vendor sends books shelf-ready, meaning they are packaged for volunteers to house on the shelf.
To further ensure student safety, the district has established a process to review all 8,500 books that might have special considerations. Since this book is also available at the Mecklenburg County public library, the district has also removed all access on Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools digital platforms to check out any materials until any additional risk can be mitigated.
Moving forward, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is developing processes and procedures to prevent this from happening again.”
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