Dear Las Crucens,
We found out that an age-inappropriate book, The Jack of Hearts and Other Parts, is in the school library at Mayfield High School in Las Cruces. This book has graphic sexual content about anal sex, oral sex, and being a "good slut."
Juan Garcia (Coalition of Conservatives in Action) and Sarah Smith (New Mexico Freedoms Alliance) have been collaborating to push for the school district to evaluate this book on whether it is age-appropriate.
VIDEO: Excerpts from Inappropriate Book
At last week's LCPS board meeting, Juan gave a comment about this book and read excerpts from the book. The video is linked below. WARNING: This video contains graphic language and is inappropriate for children. Juan actually ran out of time and was not able to read the most egregious passages.
PROGRESS: Meeting with LCPS
This week, Juan Garcia, Sarah Smith, and Chuck Wendler met with the following personnel from LCPS to discuss this book:
School Board President Teresa Tenorio
Board Member Carol Cooper
Interim Superintendent Shirley O'Brien
Deputy Superintendent Dr Wendy Tomlinson
Associate Superintendent of Equity, Innovation & Social Justice Robert Lozano
The ~1.5 hour meeting included much discussion about the District's book approval policies, age-inappropriateness of The Jack of Hearts book, and ways to move forward. Several of the school officials are in the process of reading the book and were surprised at its graphic content.
By the end of the meeting, there was agreement on moving forward as follows:
There will be a formal complaint submitted to Mayfield High School against the Jack of Hearts book. This will result in a committee being appointed to evaluate whether this book is allowed to remain in the school library.
The District's policies for evaluating books for suitability will be updated to include reviews by a committee consisting of parents, teachers, and students.
This was a good outcome and shows the power of collaboration and engagement with school officials towards improving the environment for children.
WILL YOU HELP? Assessing More Books and More
Now that there is a formal process by which books can be challenged at LCPS, we need to discover whether there are additional books that are age-inappropriate in school libraries.
We are looking for volunteers to help with looking for specific books in the online catalogue for LCPS libraries.
We are also looking for more people to get engaged with pushing for changes in schools in Las Cruces.
Please let us know if you would like to help us in improving Las Cruces schools for the children of our community.
Sarah Smith (NMFA) and Juan Garcia (CCIA)