A Brevard teacher runs a “Forbidden Book” campaign to get copies of the challenged literary works into the hands of students.
Adam Treat, English teacher at Bayside High AP, created an online fundraiser to buy copies of Books like “The Fifth Slaughterhouse” To provide students with summer reading. The criticism soon followed.
The Brevard of Moms for Liberty chapter shared screenshots of Tritt’s fundraising-related posts on its Facebook page late last month.
Treat had posted about the fundraiser May 19 in the private Facebook group Families for Safe Schools, a Brevard-based group that has opposed Moms for Liberty’s requests to remove books from school libraries.
What are mothers for freedom? Here’s a look at its roots, philosophy, and mission
Florida book ban:What titles are withdrawn from school media centers?
“Warnings to our children… 1994: Don’t take candy from strangers. 2022: Don’t take porn books from strangers.” The Brevard Moms for Liberty chapter wrote on its Facebook page in response to Tritt’s book engine
A lengthy and sometimes ugly debate ensued, with some people comparing Treat to a list of sexist teachers, and others calling him a “nanny” – a derogatory term used to describe people who befriend children for exploitation or abuse.
Others criticized Moms for Liberty for attacking a citizen and blacklisting books in schools. Mothers for Freedom has often refuted the statement that its members prefer to “ban books,” saying that people are still free to buy books from bookshops, she said.
“All we want is for content that violates child obscenity laws to be removed from school libraries,” the group said in a Facebook post.
Here’s the list of Moms for Liberty challenges: Kite Runner, Fifth Slaughterhouse
Moms for Liberty has challenged 41 books in Brevard bookstores, saying the books contain sexual content not intended for children. The class’s decision to challenge Kurt Vonnegut’s “Slaughterhouse-Five” angered teachers and community members; The class said some of the books it challenged might be appropriate for some high school students, but that the district should reassess age levels to access the challenged work.
Moms for Liberty did not respond to a request for comment.
Treat said he had not seen the Mothers for Freedom post or any of the responses, stressing that he did not want to see them.
“People think I have thick skin,” he said. “I don’t… I’m just a little guy trying to teach kids to think, read and write clearly so they can go to college and be good citizens. That is it.”
‘Forbidden Books’ for teachers may be available by mid-June
The fundraising foundation has so far raised more than $1,400. Tritt estimated that this might be enough to fund the purchase of 250 used books. Treat added that people are encouraged to donate used copies. Some of the money is earmarked for posters and pins critical of the book ban.
Treat said the books may be available in mid-June. He works with churches and local businesses to distribute books. He said children under 15 must be accompanied by a parent.
“If they’re 15 or 16, these books are for that age,” Treat said. “You could be in seventh or eighth grade and read, ‘Are you there, God? It’s me, Margaret,’ but I wanted to have parents there so there would be supervision.”
Treat will focus on a few of the books that challenged Brevard’s chapter of Mothers for Freedom, as well as some books he believes will soon follow. “The Fifth Slaughterhouse” will be the main focus. He will also seek copies of “Forever” by Judy Blume, “Perks of Being a Wallflower” by Stephen Chbosky, “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini, “All Boys Arn’t Blue” by George Matthew Johnson and “This Book Is Like me” by Juno Dawson.
Two graphic novels, “Genderqueer: A Memoir” by Maya Cobabe and “Maus” by artist Art Spiegelman, are also included. “Genderqueer” is a memoir of Kobabe’s appreciation of sex and sexuality that removed Brevard Public Schools from libraries in October because it included sexual illustrations. Mouse is a Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel that recounts the author’s parents’ accounts of surviving the Holocaust; It was removed from classrooms by the Tennessee School Board in January for including expletives and a drawing of breasts.
“The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood; “Are you there, God? It’s me, Margaret.” “The Bluest Eye” and “Beloved” by Toni Morrison aren’t on Moms for Liberty’s challenge list, but Tritt decided to include them in the drive because he thought they could be challenged soon, too.
Often challenged for its sexual content and criticism of conservative Christianity, “The Handmaid’s Tale” is about a dystopian future in which America becomes a Christian theocracy, and fertile women are given to elite military families and forced to have their own children. Like The Fifth Slaughterhouse, the book occasionally appears in upper secondary school English curricula.
Brevard Public Schools has not yet mentioned the challenge of “The Fifth Slaughterhouse” and other classroom-use books for the English language curriculum. County officials said the official review of the 41 books challenged by Mothers for Freedom could take more than a year.