School Board Ceremony Draws Criticism
Democrat Karl Frisch made headlines on Thursday as he was sworn in for his second term on the Fairfax County School Board. But it wasn’t just his reelection that caused a stir – it was the stack of books he used for his swearing-in ceremony that caught people’s attention.
Frisch, who is openly gay, chose to be sworn in on a stack of five LGBTQ-themed books that have been banned in other school systems for their sexually explicit content. The books included “All Boys Aren’t Blue,” “Gender Queer,” “Flamer,” “Lawn Boy,” and “The Perks of Being a Wallflower.” A photo of Frisch’s partner holding the stack of books as he took the oath quickly went viral.
The decision to use these controversial books for his ceremony was a deliberate one for Frisch, who sees it as a statement of support for the LGBTQ community. “He was sworn in on the five LGBTQ-themed books that are most frequently banned by other school systems,” Frisch’s campaign website announced. “As a champion for inclusion and diversity, Frisch stands firm in his belief that all students should have access to diverse, inclusive literature.”
However, Frisch is not the first official to use these books for a swearing-in ceremony. In early December, a school board president in Pennsylvania, Karen Smith, also used a stack of controversial books, including “Flamer” and “All Boys Aren’t Blue,” for her swearing-in. This trend of using banned books as part of a political statement has caused some controversy, with some arguing that it is inappropriate for public officials to promote sexually explicit material.
🚨Last night in Virginia, Fairfax County School Board member @KarlFrisch was sworn in on a stack “LGBTQ themed” books, including one that depicts naked teenage boys.
Don’t forget that the “book ban” narrative is part of a dishonest political campaign aimed at attacking parents.… pic.twitter.com/o2LcbkBQz0
— Nicki Neily (@nickineily) December 14, 2023
The use of these books also brings to light the ongoing issue of book banning in schools. “Flamer” and “Gender Queer” have courted major controversy across the country, making the American Library Association’s list of most “banned books” in 2022. These books have been challenged in numerous schools for their LGBTQ content and depictions of sexually explicit material. Critics argue that these books are not appropriate for young readers and should not be promoted in schools.
This controversy is not the first for the Fairfax County School Board. Just two months ago, another board member, Abrar Omeish, faced backlash for opposing a moment of silence for the victims of the Hamas terror attacks on October 7. Omeish criticized the board for not addressing the Palestinian struggle in the statement, which she felt did not represent all students.
Frisch’s swearing-in has become a topic of debate, stirring up discussions about book banning and the promotion of diversity and inclusion in schools. As he begins his second term as a member of the Fairfax County School Board, Frisch’s decision to use these banned books for his ceremony will continue to be a topic of conversation in the community.