Trustees at the Brandon School Division (BSD) will not ban ‘sexualized’ literature on gender identity from public school libraries after a 6-1 vote Wednesday.
On March 14, a delegation asked Winkler City Council to stop funding the South Central Regional Library (SCRL) until they remove books on sexuality and LGBTQ issues that are easily accessible to minors. One of the delegation members said the material is akin to “child pornography.”
BSD also faced a similar request during a school trustee meeting on May 8. The Winnipeg Free Press reported that two trustees supported a possible ban.
Since May 8, the school division has received 289 emails and letters mostly opposed to the banning of such literature.
The Manitoba Library Association (MLA) expressed concerns about “intellectual freedom” earlier this month following several requests to remove books on sexual and gender identity from school bookshelves.
“MLA condemns the discriminatory characterization behind these calls for censorship,” said the nonprofit. “We consider this an affront to our professional values of intellectual freedom and equity, diversity, and inclusion alike.”
On Tuesday, residents debated the book ban at Brandon’s Vincent Massey High School. Most speakers, including parents, school administrators, and other community members, overwhelmingly opposed the measure.
Only one presenter supported the ban, while trustees read correspondence at the beginning of the meeting.
“Hoping and praying long and often. Please stand for what is right and ban the books,” read trustee chairperson Linda Ross. “I truly believe that there’s a concerning number of books that should not be available for small kids.
“You believe in personal responsibility and freedom. What do you make of some people in Manitoba wanting to ban books?” a CBC reporter asked PPC leader Maxime Bernier on May 19. He replied: “Well, it depends which one. So every book?”
The reporter clarified that members of the public wanted to ban gender identity literature from school libraries. “Does that align with the freedom ideology?” he asked.
“I believe [these people] have a point with [schools] showing sexualized books to children. I had a meeting with concerned parents, and they were unhappy about that,” said Bernier.
“Why push the sexualization of children in our society? We don’t need that. We must fight that.”
With two trustees absent, the board voted against creating a committee to ban books in school libraries by a vote of 6-1.