This is a guest blog post by a Michelle Ball, a fierce mama bear who is taking action to protect her children from the political and sexual indoctrination in our public schools. She teaches us how she had a sexually inappropriate book removed that was assigned to a classroom of 16 year olds.
I asked my child, “What book are you reading in class?” That simple question led to a 44-hour campaign to remove the book from Carmel High School block the American Literature/ History classroom. The class, usually referred to as “block,” is structured as one class to combine literature with the period of history the class is studying.
The book assigned to the class, Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi, begins with two African half-sisters and follows the very different paths of their lives. Like other classroom book reading, I told our child that I would like to read it also. A quick Amazon search and skimming through the reviews; someone described the book as “pornographic.” Alarmed, I immediately went to my Carmel Clay Public Library app and downloaded the e-book. An e-book allows for an easy search of keywords, and what I found left my heart hurting – this book was absolutely and undeniably not appropriate for a teenage audience.
My Call To Action
That evening, I sent an email to the teacher, stating my child would not read the book, pulling two explicit excerpts as an example, and asked for alternative next steps. I cc’d the school principal on the email and then forwarded it to Layla Spanenberg, Carmel Clay School Board President ([email protected]), and Michael Beresford, Carmel Clay Schools Superintendent ([email protected]).
After the July 2021 Carmel Clay School board meeting, where parents read explicit books to bring public awareness, both of these individuals specifically stated parents should contact them if more books were found. The video of reading can be found HERE (warning explicit material).
Illegally disseminating matters harmful to minors
The following day, I began to do more research, specifically around Indiana code 35-49-3-3 “Dissemination of matter or conducting performance harmful to minors.” I then drafted an email to the Carmel Clay Schools attorney referencing 35-49-3-3 and said that I believe the school was breaking the law and called for the immediate removal of the book. I also created a Facebook post featuring the book cover and excerpts. Parents, groups, and friends needed to know what their children were reading, and fortunately, several took action.
By day two, I had only received an email from the teacher suggesting a phone call to discuss my concerns. What?! The school is distributing explicit material, and you want to discuss my concerns? Knowing that action was necessary since children were reading the book, I called the school principal and left a message referencing the book, excerpts, and Indiana code 35-49-3-3. To his credit, he returned my call quickly. He was aware of the situation and had a meeting to discuss the next steps; he would call me back after the meeting, which he did. He was professional, and he agreed with my assessment; the material was not appropriate in the classroom. He explained that the book would be removed from the class and replaced with, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas, an American Slave. That afternoon, the teachers collected the books from students. Homegoing is now out of the classroom.
YOU have the power and control over your child’s education. If you have a concern, don’t stop at just the teacher, do your research, ask questions, and look for different channels to share your concern with others. If I had to do anything differently, I should have picked up the phone or gone to the school immediately…email is not the best method. Best wishes engaging in your child’s education – learn, watch, and take action!