The latest frontier of the conservative culture wars is the local school board, where low turnout elections are meeting deranged conservative beliefs. In Iowa, the Waukee school district removed three queer books for teens from its library system last month.
The books — “All Boys Aren’t Blue,” “Lawn Boy” and “Gender Queer” — were taken out of the Northwest High School Library after a community member (not parent) read some spicy (you could say explicit) scenes from the books at an Oct. 25 meeting of the Waukee Community School District School.
But where the book banning really caught fire was when school board candidate Vin Thaker posted about the pro-LGBTQ book borrowers on Facebook last week. Thaker wants to know the name of every kid who checked out one of the pro-LGBTQ books. Shocking! And scary! I was reading all kinds of shit I didn’t want my parents to know about when I was in high school. (Thaker’s comment was highlighted by an Iowa Democratic group trying to elect Democrats to the school board.)
This move incensed Thaker because the screenshot only disclosed that he wants do whatever the school board equivalent is to a subpoena to children’s library records. What Thaker actually wants to do is get all the students’ names, notify their parents, and then make “the person who ordered these titles” defend their choices. (Axios Des Moines says the district ordered 7,800 titles in an age-appropriate bundle for the new high school this year from Follet.)
Can’t say that makes it better, bud!
Gotta respect his belief that if you’re gonna be mad at Thaker, he wants you to be mad for the right reasons. Because student privacy might not be enough to get up in arms about, there was this ominous line to the comment that started it all. “Things are going to change under the Warriors and the Wolves. For the better,” he wrote.
Sadly, Thaker is far from an anomaly. In Nevada, one man has been to eight school board meetings in three days to make it clear to officials that Marxists shouldn’t be allowed, despite not having children enrolled. In Texas, there has been a yearslong fight to deal with racism in a wealthy enclave between Dallas and Fort Worth that has completely jumped the shark. In Arizona, a woman started spewing anti-semitic crap sprinkled with Qanon conspiracies at a school board meeting. Outside of Denver, school board elections have become pure political theater.