Shannon Ayres, a Texas mother tired of asking for the removal of the books with graphic sexual content from school libraries, was harshly criticized after reading an excerpt from one of the novels featuring underage sex scenes at a school board meeting.
The mother's method of getting the board's attention went viral on Twitter, receiving nearly 372,000 likes after being posted by the Libs of TikTok account.
UNREAL. Parent in @friscoisd reads from a pornographic book available to kids. A board member stops her and says "there's a child in our board room."
They acknowledge it's inappropriate to read in front of children but these books can be in the school library. Make it make sense pic.twitter.com/VwpUBWOYnb
- Libs of TikTok (@libsoftiktok) November 17, 2022
The video posted on social media shows Ayres reading a sentence from the book The Perks of Being a Wallflower, which graphically describes a young girl protesting and crying as a boy forces her to perform oral sex on him. Instantly, the mother probes the board members: "I ask you again why this book has survived two attempts..." and then her microphone was cut. She was referring to the two prior attempts to remove the book from the school library.
Off camera, board chairman René Archambault is heard speaking as Ayres' microphone is turned off: "Thank you. Your time is up. Thank you very much. There is a child in our boardroom, so I would like you to please stop reading that."
Subsequently, they indicated that the child present at the meeting was of elementary school age. The president claimed that it was "different" for a child to be forced to listen listen to the book, than to check it out from the library on his or her own accord.
Archambault's comments provoked strong complaints among audiences. News outlet ZeroHedge claimed that "the irony of Archambault’s comment seems to amaze viewers—that a school library book is too graphic to be presented in front of children."
Drawing attention to issues
Ayres told The Epoch Times that she decided to start reading excerpts from books that were in libraries. Identical, which has a scene in which a father rapes his daughter, was already undergoing a second review but was removed 48 hours after she read an excerpt at an earlier board meeting.
Five other titles remain on the shelves: Chicken Girl, Glass Castle, The Perks of Being a Wildflower, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian and The Exact Opposite of Okay.
In theory, parents and board members can object to materials that do not conform to community norms. However, the district claims it must also protect students' First Amendment rights. Ayres said board members should not hide behind claims that removing inappropriate books would violate students' rights.
Parents shouldn't have to fight "to get this crap out of libraries." Sexualized content has no educational value, Ayres said. She believes it is used to normalize sex for students by lowering their inhibitions through exposure at an early age. "It's definitely an agenda," she said.