NEWTOWN, Conn. (WTNH) — The national trend of removing books from public schools is officially heating up in Connecticut.
On Thursday, the Newtown Board of Education will vote to potentially remove two books from the town’s high school library. Tuesday night, a crowd gathered outside the Edmond Town Hall building in Newtown to protest.
“This is the Constitution State, this is Connecticut. This can’t happen here,” said Dan Grossman, who lives in Newtown and has three children in the school system. “When the worst regimes that we have ever seen go to ban things, they don’t start with guns or weapons. They start with books, and they start with knowledge,” he said.
There are four Republicans and three Democrats on the Newtown Board of Education. Three of the Republicans are on record from the last board meeting, saying students under a certain age should need permission from parents to read the books. The fourth Republican missed the last meeting but is expected to vote Thursday.
Some of the members who voiced concerns about the books stressed their concerns were not with LGBTQ+ themes, but with the sexual content in the books.
The titles in question are “Flamer” by Mike Curato and “Blankets” by Craig Thompson. “Flamer” is about a teen who identifies as gay and struggles with self-hatred. “Blankets” is a graphic novel that includes some sexual themes.
“Even if these books in any way had some sort of harm to cause people, the consequences of removing them are far greater than the consequences of keeping them,” said Ali Powers, who is graduating from Newtown High School this year. She also spoke at Tuesday night’s rally and said she’s most worried about the precedent a book restriction would set.
“It feels like de-evolving, honestly. It feels like we’re going to get to age 50 and become apes again. It’s like we’re moving backwards,” she said.
News 8 spoke briefly with the chair of the Newtown Board of Education, Deborra Zukowski, who is one of the four Republicans on the board. She said all board members have been advised by the district’s legal department not to speak publicly about the issue until after the vote.
The Newtown Board of Education will meet Thursday, at 7:00 p.m. at Newtown High School.
The video below aired in our 10 p.m. newscast on May 30, 2023.