Carroll Report Maryland Muckraker

Muckraker: Hahn confirms age-inappropriate books in Harford schools: ‘Unwilling to sit back and watch this happen’

This article brought to you by Maryland Muckraker.

Harford County Board of Education Vice President Melissa Hahn recently confirmed there are age-inappropriate books available in Harford County public school libraries for middle and high school students, despite many out there claiming otherwise. She said the below six books are indeed still accessible to county students even though they’ve already been removed from many school libraries across the country.  

  • Gender Queer 

  • Flamer

  • A Is For Activist

  • Let’s Talk About It: The Teen’s Guide to Sex, Relationships, and Being a Human

  • All Boys Aren’t Blue 

  • Lawn Boy  

Gender Queer, a memoir recounting the author’s journey to becoming non-binary including many visual showings & textual descriptions of specific sex acts, was protested in Baltimore County earlier this year after being the most challenged book in the country in 2022 according to the American Library Association.  

While Lawn Boy, which one critic summarizes as reading like “a neighbor who develops a fixation on a boy who lives down the street,” is only available to Carroll County students with parental permission after a review of it was initiated in late 2021, well prior to the most recent round of reviews which have seen 50+ books removed from shelves while the entire review and appeal process takes place.     

All Boys Aren’t Blue, the second most challenged book in the country about the “trials and triumphs faced by black queer boys,” recently made national headlines when Senator John Kennedy dryly read it aloud with his trademarked twang during a Democrat run Senate hearing on “book bans.”

Hahn explained “We are not trying to ban books, we just want material in our schools to be educational and age-appropriate.”

Hahn’s concerns weren’t limited to age-inappropriate books though. She shared stories public school parents have emailed to her in the first couple weeks of school, revealing classroom content that is explicitly political and encourages poor, even illegal behavior. 

Harford County Board of Education Vice President Melissa Hahn speaking during a September 18th meeting

“10th grade was learning about compassion,” she explained. “A man stole a woman’s purse, and instead of calling the police, a bystander rewarded this behavior by giving the thief his box of baked goods.” She determined “We are encouraging our children to have compassion for the thief, and not the person whose items were stolen.” 

One 6th grade class had a multiple day lesson on “decisions that matter”, including a link to an article titled “26 types of activism to know (plus examples)” which tells middle schoolers that “Some approaches to activism involve challenging power structures and breaking laws.”

“I, for one, am unwilling to sit back and watch this happen,” she concluded. “Everyone deserves to know the truth.”

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