Cobb County Superintendent Responds to Marietta School Board Banning 23 Books

January 18, 2024
2 mins read

📚 The Gist: Marietta City School Board’s decision to uphold the ban on 23 books deemed sexually explicit has sparked a complex debate among parents, educators, and students throughout Cobb County and the nation. Today, Cobb County’s Superintendent weighed in on the Marietta school board’s decision.

📖 The Details: The controversial decision, backed by a 6 to 1 vote, came after a group of parents read the banned books and filed appeals. Marietta Superintendent Dr. Grant Rivera discussed the difficulty in justifying the academic value of these books.

The debate also touched on the representation of LGBTQ+ themes, with author Mark Oshiro and Dr. Rivera addressing concerns about disproportionate representation. The community remains divided, with some hoping this marks an end to the banning efforts.

🚫 The Books: The complete list of 23 books banned by the Marietta City School Board is below:

  1. “Thirteen Reasons Why” – Jay Asher
  2. “City of Thieves” – David Benioff
  3. “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” – Stephen Chbosky
  4. “This Book is Gay” – Juno Dawson
  5. “I Love You, Beth Cooper” – Larry Doyle
  6. “It Ends with Us” – Colleen Hoover
  7. “Crank” – Ellen Hopkins
  8. “Identical” – Ellen Hopkins
  9. “Tricks” – Ellen Hopkins
  10. “Monday’s Not Coming” – Tiffany Jackson
  11. “All Boys Aren’t Blue” – George M. Johnson
  12. “Beyond Magenta” – Susan Kuklin
  13. “A Court of Thorns and Roses” – Sarah J. Maas
  14. “A Court of Mist and Fury” – Sarah J. Maas
  15. “A Court of Wings and Ruin” – Sarah J. Maas
  16. “A Court of Frost and Starlight” – Sarah J. Maas
  17. “The Infinite Moment of Us” – Lauren Myracle
  18. “Juliet Takes a Breath” – Gabby Rivera
  19. “Lucky” – Alice Sebold
  20. “More Happy than Not” – Adam Silvera
  21. “Grasshopper Jungle: A History” – Andrew Smith
  22. “The Casual Vacancy” – J.K. Rowling
  23. “Blankets” – Craig Thompson

🏫 Cobb Superintendent Chris Ragsdale’s Statement: The decision has also sent ripples to the Cobb County School System, their Superintendent Chris Ragsdale took time at today’s school board meeting to give remarks about the book ban in Marietta. His remarks are below:

“I want to begin by again complimenting the Marietta City School Board and school district. They have been working on the same problem, just with a few less books, as we remove sexually explicit materials from our schools. Some have taken issue with the process we’ve used to remove some of the books we’ve already found, and I feel the need to repeat what I’ve said before.

It simply does not matter how we learn about a sexually explicit book being in our schools. Once we learn sexually explicit content is in front of our students, it is our responsibility to protect our students and inform our parents. I have said it before, and I am repeating it again: this is about good and evil. We have a professional and moral obligation to protect students from vulgar, lewd, sexually explicit, obscene, and pornographic material.

We are familiar with the 23 books and the sexually explicit content that Marietta has found and are currently reviewing to see which locations have any of the books, and the same process will be taken. Our team continues to actively review the millions of books in our schools, and I will be sure to bring an update on that process as it becomes available.

As you can imagine, the review process of more than a million books is not a quick nor simple task; however, that being said, I do commit that we will complete the review and continue to remove any sexually explicit material from our schools.”

✏️ Why It Matters: The ban raises important questions about censorship, educational values, and the balance between protecting students and promoting diverse perspectives in literature.

➡️ What’s Next?: The community anticipates further developments and discussions about the role of literature in education, particularly in shaping young minds in a diverse society.

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