Woman calls police over school library stocking gay graphic novel. No, seriously

A woman called the police on gay novel, Flamer, written by Mike Curato. (Macmillan)

A woman in Texas has called the police after discovering gay teen novel Flamer in a school library near Houston. Seriously.

The anonymous woman, who has been dubbed a ‘Karen’, called the police after discovering Mike Curato’s young adult graphic novel at Jordan High School library in Katy Independent School District (Katy ISD). The woman claimed the book was was “pornographic” and “harmful” to minors.

Flamer, set in 1995, sees the protagonist navigate bullying at a Boy Scouts summer camp, with the title of the book being slang for “a flamboyant homosexual”, according to Urban Dictionary.

On 21 July the woman went to police headquarters and declared Katy ISD in violation of Texas penal code 43.24, which “prohibits the sale, distribution or display of harmful material to minors”, due to the novel being available to minors at the library, as reported by LGBTQ+ Nation.

Prior to this the woman had contacted the school district but wasn’t happy with the result.

A row of books on a shelf
The woman found the book in a school library in Texas. (John Moore/Getty Images)

The police report stated the woman’s grievance started with Jordan High School but she realised the book was in other schools and wanted to “extend” her complaint to the entire district.

In a follow-up email to the police the woman wrote: “Per governor [Greg] Abbott and the TEA (Texas Education Agency), the book Flamer should have been removed from KISD library shelves but it still remains. The KISD police report will be sent to the Texas Rangers’ office.”

The school’s book committee had already reviewed and approved the novel back in March, so the woman’s complaints were futile.

Maria Corrales DiPetta, media relations manager for Katy Independent School District, stated an investigation into the complaint ensued and an inspector had “checked out” the novel.

Jordan High School principal explained Flamer had initially been pulled from the library after complaints but then “returned to high school libraries upon being deemed appropriate for high school”, as reported by LGBTQ+ Nation.

Katy ISD deemed the woman’s complaints “unsubstantiated”.

The police report stated the book had undergone “multiple review processes by the district, including one with a committee made up of librarians, parents, and teachers, and deemed appropriate for high school libraries”.

The report concluded the woman can pursue “her complaint before the KISD board” again, if she so chooses.

Earlier this year a study by PEN America found LGBTQ+ authors have dominated a list of most-banned books in the United States.

LGBTQ

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