Anger over book leads to school board ban for Kirkwood parent
KIRKWOOD, Mo. – A parent in the Kirkwood School District was escorted out of a school board meeting last month after approaching school board members with what she claimed was a graphic image on her cell phone.
Jessica Crandell said she has a daughter in fourth grade who attends Robinson Elementary School. During the public comment portion of the Oct. 25 Kirkwood School Board meeting, Crandell said she was concerned about the books brought to her attention in the district libraries which “are nothing less than the pornography”.
She did not say the titles of the books, however, Kirkwood School District communications director Steph Deidrick said Crandell was referring to a book called “Gender Queer,” which is not in any of the libraries in the school district and never was.
“Books and other educational materials purchased for school libraries are subject to district policy, in particular IIAC policy and IIAC-R1 regulation, as well as the guidelines outlined in our Library and Media Procedures Manual. district, ”Deidrick said in a statement.
Crandell claims to be an educator for the Parkway School District and explained how educators are mandated by law to report alleged abuse.
“In my school, we teach safe schools every year – how to protect our children from abuse inside and outside of school. And we are also mandated by law that if we see any kind of idea that there might be abuse, we are mandated to report it. And I think you are all too, ”she said, designating the members of the board of directors.
Fox 2 called the Parkway School District and was told there was no one by that name working for the district.
A public speaker before Crandell spoke about protecting students from sexual predators. Crandell said she listened to his speech “on how children are not protected from sexual predators… it’s because the books in our children’s library are filled with things like this…”
She then walked away from the podium and approached the board members showing them the image on her cell phone.
Board chair Jean Marie Andrews told Crandell she should stay on the podium and email the image to the school board. Crandell continued to show board members his cell phone, saying, “Oh really, because you don’t answer your emails, you don’t answer my phone calls.”
His last words were: “And I will come back next time.”
However, in a letter to Crandell from the school district’s director of safety and security, Crandell was banned from attending future board meetings in person until November of next year.
A statement on behalf of the school district reads: “The Kirkwood School District values and welcomes customer feedback. Whenever someone refuses to comply with our standards of conduct and has a perceived safety concern, we will put the safety of our families, residents and staff first. In this case, the individual will have the opportunity to participate virtually in future meetings.
Deidrick also told Fox 2 that no other books are currently in dispute.
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