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McMaster calls for investigation after LGBTQ book with ‘sexually explicit’ material found at school’s library

Published: Nov. 10, 2021 at 5:32 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 10, 2021 at 11:41 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Gov. Henry McMaster asked the state’s Department of Education to investigate possible obscene and pornographic material in schools after learning of a petition filed by parents to remove an LGBTQ graphic novel from a school library they claim depicts sexually explicit material.

The governor said he was prompted to request the investigation after hearing that Fort Mill School District parents were required to petition the district to remove the book “Gender Queer: A Memoir” from a school’s library.

“If school personnel had performed even a cursory review in this particular instance, it would have revealed that the book contains sexually explicit and pornographic depictions, which easily meet or exceed the statutory definition of obscenity,” McMaster said in a letter to School Superintendent Molly Spearman. “Thus, I am concerned that further examination may identify additional instances in which inappropriate materials have been introduced into our State’s public schools.”

The book’s author, Maia Kobabe, said the book has been already been banned in Florida and faces challenges in several other states including New Jersey, Texas and Ohio. The book is currently the best seller for LGBTQ+ Graphic Novels on Amazon.

In a Washington Post piece written by Kobabe titled, “Schools are banning my book. But queer kids need queer stories,” Kobabe says calling the book pornography is a “common accusation against work with themes of queer sexuality.”

McMaster said it was obvious that there was either a lack of any oversight or screening of the book since it was allowed in state schools even though it contained sexually explicit materials.

The governor has also called on state education officials to promote standards and directives to prevent pornography from entering the state’s public schools and to identify any materials that may already be in school libraries.

Additionally, McMaster has also referred the matter to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.

“I trust you agree that pornography and obscenity have no place in our State’s public schools, much less in their libraries. Aside from being deeply disturbing and manifestly inappropriate, it is likely illegal under South Carolina law. Accordingly, by copy of this letter, I am simultaneously notifying the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division of this matter for further evaluation,” McMaster said in his letter to Spearman.

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