Tuesday’s Board of Ed meeting in Roxbury was another opportunity for foaming-at-the-mouth right-wingers to ban books and throw LGBT kids under the bus.
If you’re curious about what the Republican Party stands for, in NJ and nationally, consider this: we’re entering the third month of a collective GOP meltdown because a beer company put a transgender person in a commercial.
Incessant right-wing whining about “cancel cancel” while simultaneously striving to cancel anything they don’t like is proof that most GOP accusations are actually confessions. Another school shooting is never a big deal in right wing circles but a drag queen reading Dr Suess to kids? Well, that’s when the pitchforks really come out.
And that’s pretty much the GOP platform in 2023, alongside controlling the outcome of every pregnancy in America.
And thanks to GOP priorities, classroom censorship of books is on the rise nationally. New Jersey is no exception as school districts around the state actively work to eliminate any evidence of the existence of gay (and especially transgender) people from the curriculum and from the library.
“There have been attempts to overturn LGBTQ protections and to ban books in at least one district in every county in NJ,” Louise Walpin told InsiderNJ.
Half of the first gay wedding in NJ history, Ms. Walpin is involved with SWEEP NJ, an organization founded to combat right-wing extremism on School boards by supplying factual testimony to counter conservative fear-mongering.
The epicenter of New Jersey’s culture wars might be Morris County, home of an especially caustic and un-constructive GOP primary where rival candidates neglect (!) issues like property taxes in their heated rush to dehumanize gay people. Their pitch to GOP primary voters: We hate LGBTs more than you do!!
The book ban issue was top-of-mind at tonight’s raucous Board of Education meeting in Roxbury, NJ because, well, how could it not be?
Roxana Caivano, a librarian at Roxbury High School is under fire (to say the least) from hysterical parents because she steadfastly refused to ban books they don’t like. Ms. Caivano has sued her critics for defamation. She stood up to would-be book banners at Tuesday’s meetings which went from 7:30 until midnight with lots of Bible-waving in the meantime.
Leslie Bockol, Coalitions Organizer for New Jersey Working Families Party, attended Tuesday’s BoE meeting to clap back at the book-ban trend.
“It’s ironic that the same people who purport to believe in freedom are pushing censorship with a book ban,” Ms. Bockol told InsiderNJ. “We don’t need to protect LGBTQ+ students from learning about themselves, or their peers from learning to see them with understanding. What we need to protect students from is a hostile, and even violent world filled with opportunistic right-wing politicians who are eager to score political points by demonizing LGBTQ+ kids.”
Trenton Councilwoman Jennifer Williams is the first transgender municipal lawmaker in New Jersey history. She’s especially alarmed about a chilling decision of the Board of Ed in nearby Hanover to force teachers to “out” LGBT students to their parents.
“Forty percent of homeless youth are LGBTQ kids who were thrown out of their homes and/or rejected by their families,” Ms. Williams told InsiderNJ. “Requiring schools to ‘out’ kids will only make that problem worse and could cost lives.”
Spoiler alert: it will cost lives.
“Coming out is a personal decision for every LGBTQ person, just as accepting and affirming them is the decision of every non-LGBTQ person they encounter in life – especially those non-LGBTQ in power over the mechanisms of government and our schools,” Ms. Williams added.
Ms. Williams is also alarmed by the conservative trend to ban books, behavior she characterized as “antithetical to being an American, let alone believing in free speech and what the Founding Fathers wrote in the First Amendment.”
That’s not coming from a woke liberal, Ms. Williams is a lifelong republican who chairs Trenton’s GOP municipal committee.
Shannon Cuttle founded the NJ Safe Schools Coalition in 2016 to support LGBT students and to clap back when right-wingers target queer kids.
“We are not immune to what is happening across the country even here in New Jersey,” Cuttle noted. “All students have the right to feel safe and welcomed at school regardless of their background, sexual orientation or gender identity.”