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02-23-2023    11:18 AM    OPINION    Explicit content in schools op-ed

Below are reprints of letters from Julie Brown in Cheyenne, Wyoming.  Julie's original text is all in brick red.  Wyoming Issues has converted images to links, with descriptions of what will be seen when clicking on the link.  Comments added by Wyoming Issues are all in black.

Julie's Op-Ed

Dear Editor,

As a mom of five children currently enrolled in LCSD#1, I would like to voice my opinion regarding sexually explicit materials in our schools.  I want to emphasize I am not referring to any and all sexual content.  I am not suggesting we categorize or exclude books like To Kill a Mockingbird or The Scarlet Letter, or other classics; my concern relates to literature describing explicit sex acts.  Specifically, books with explicit descriptions of genitalia—regardless of relationship-status, gender, age or sexual orientation—being touched, inserted, sucked, licked, caressed, mutilated, or harmed in any way.  I am unable to provide excerpts because they would be considered lewd and obscene.  No child needs to be exposed to these graphic texts; they are unnecessary and, from personal experience in my children's classrooms, limited, distracting and highly problematic in educating our students.  In fact, recent meta-analyses that sum up studies on this issue conclude that "exposure to sexual material increases adolescents' risk of early sexual initiation and risky sexual behavior" (Smith et al., 2016; Coyne et al., 2019).  I am not seeking to parent other people's children, ban classics, shut down important conversations or take away anyone's right to read and access whatever they choose.  All of these books remain available online and in our public libraries.  I am seeking to elevate the reading materials and conversations in our schools and classrooms above the shocking content children are constantly bombarded with on social media and the Internet.  We must refuse to lower standards, do the hard work and choose, from the hundreds of thousands of books readily available, equally relevant and meaningful literature to teach curricular standards, void of sexually explicit content.  There is a reason we have ratings for movies and other media.  Books should be judged by similar standards.  As a society, we have determined minors to be exceptionally vulnerable and impressionable.  They must be protected and spoken for by morally responsible adults.  It is irresponsible and contradictory to fill our students' minds with sexually explicit, distracting books and images in our schools.


Julie Brown

Julie's Follow-Up Letter to Wyoming Issues

Also, here are a few examples of books that were the assigned reading in my children's classes, this year:

A page from The 57 Bus, describing a male jogger sexually harassed by males in a passing car.

Partial pages from The 57 Bus, describing a girl being set on fire.

Book assigned as the sole outside reading in my daughter's 10th grade English class.  After 3 meetings with administrators and a book challenge, it was determined this book will remain in our classrooms and libraries.  

A scan of an English assignment.

Picture shown (in a lineup of many) as a writing prompt in my daughter's 10th grade English class.  Administrators removed the assignment after my daughter alerted me and I complained.

*  This image is referenced again in Julie's later email titled, "English Class - Inappropriate Picture."

An image of a sculptor detailing the erect male genitals of a subject (not something the Greeks ever actually did... ancient Greek artists depicted male genitals small and flaccid).

A scanned image depicting an ancient Greek footrace.

Pictures in several copies of a book provided in my son's 6th grade elementary classroom for his Ancient Greece project.  The caption under the "sodomy" type picture of 2 men reads: "Would you like to take part?" This book, we were able to get removed, only after I agreed to come in and meet with the Principal, directly.  

As you can see, we are being bombarded with inappropriate materials in our schools and students and parents being forced to be the whistle-blowers.  

Thank you!

Julie D.  Brown

Another Follow-Up Titled, "English Class - Inappropriate Picture"

My daughter informed me that Ms.  Black is back at school, teaching.  What are the results of the investigation of the inappropriate picture shown in my child's English class?  I still have not heard anything, directly, from the teacher except generally to the class that she was trying teach something from "The Life of Pi," although, that book was not referenced in any of the photos or the corresponding writing assignment.  I reached out to Dr.  Delbridge, again, this morning, as I was told there would be a follow-up conversation.  She informed me the picture the teacher used was NOT district-approved curriculum.  What are the policies surrounding non-approved curriculum in the classroom that allowed my daughter to be exposed to an inappropriate picture in her classroom, and THEN be penalized and discriminated against because she did not comply?  The teacher gave extra credit and praised the "work ethic" of those students who did not question her irresponsible assignment.  I am STILL unclear as to what standard the teacher was trying to teach/meet and why a picture, with no explanation or context, of an erected penis and condom demonstration was necessary to teach that standard?  Why was the district blocking access to the link to the picture?  Who is being held accountable for this?  What is being done to ensure this does not happen again?

Thank you for your concern,

Julie Brown

Thank you for reading. The purpose of my campaigns is to highlight corruption and to get assistance from anyone who is able and willing to help return Gillette and Campbell County and Wyoming to American Ideals, and hopefully a culture that applies the law equally to all citizens regardless of position or social class. Thank you so much for the efforts you are making and have already made. Please forward to everyone that you know who might be interested in the information I share. God Bless You, and God Bless America.

Links to PDF files, direct quotations, and reproduced content in this document are presented here to document the object of the criticisms outlined above, to inform those who may not be aware of these oppositional opinions, and finally to provide a historical reference to the issues Americans faced at the time of publication.