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    Marietta parents petition to bring back banned book

    Some people have called the book sexually explicit, while other parents said they want to see their kids exposed to people from all walks of life.

    MARIETTA, Ga. — The fight continues for a group of Marietta parents who want to see a book back on the shelves after the district removed it from libraries. 

    Some people have called the book sexually explicit, while other parents said they want to see their kids exposed to people from all walks of life. 

    The Marietta City Schools superintendent denied a parent’s appeal to reinstate a book banned at the beginning of the school year. Now, parents are filing a second appeal to the city board of education.

    Kayla Sargent failed in her first attempt to bring back a banned book to her kids’ schools, but she’s not giving up. 

    “When it’s read in completion, in context, the book is simply benign. My 10-year-old has read it,” Sargent said.

    Sargent organized a new petition. It now has almost 120 signatures. 

    The fight is over the young adult graphic novel “Flamer” that used to be in high school libraries. It’s about a gay teen who struggles with his identity at summer camp. 

    Joe Evans is a pastor and parent who has a 12-year-old and 14-year-old daughter in the district. 

    “I see themes, and those themes make me nervous that marginalized groups in our school system are going to feel more marginalized because of the books that are being banned,” Evans said. 

    Evans feels the school board has more important things to focus on besides banning books. 

    “This issue of book banning feels like a complete distraction because it’s taking attention away from the real issue,” Evans said. “If the kids can’t read, it doesn’t matter what’s in the library. This makes me kind of want to pull my hair out.”

    Parent Stormy Webster has an eight-year-old son in Marietta City Schools and also signed the petition. 

    “It’s my job to raise my child,” Webster said. “I want people to trust the experts in the schools. Trust the teachers. Trust the media specialists to do their jobs.”

    Webster worries banning “Flamer” could lead to a slippery slope of many other books being taken off the shelves. The school district is reviewing more than 20,000 books at this time.

    “There could be any number of books that might not necessarily be appropriate for my child, but the student sitting next to him needs to read that book because they are dealing with what they are going through to feel like, ‘I matter. I have a voice in this world,'” Webster said.

    Some parents who signed the petition plan on showing up at the November 14th school board meeting to plead their case.

    “I hope they have the integrity to really model for our students what it’s like to change your mind in light of new information. That’s what we expect from our students. We should certainly be seeing that in our leadership,” Sergeant said. 

    The spokesperson for Marietta City Schools had no comment. 11Alive reached out to all the school board members, but none got back to us.


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