“It has been brought to my attention by some parents that there are some disturbing books in our district that are available to students,” Manning wrote in an October 5 email, The Daily Beast reported. “I would like to ask that you pull these books from shelves and also block any electronic access by students to getting these books IMMEDIATELY,” she added.
Manning went a step further to say that the staff involved in getting the books on school shelves should face disciplinary action. The other titles Manning described as “disturbing” include Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison, Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe, and A Lesson For Dying by Ernest Gaines.
According to Spence, Manning had previously demanded the district to review two other books including Good Trouble: Lessons from the Civil Rights Playbook by Christopher Noxon that includes interviews from the late Rep. John Lewis, and Beyond Magenta by Susan Kuklin.
Manning admitted that she hadn’t read The Bluest Eye or confirmed the content “firsthand” but was sure that it isn’t suitable for high school seniors.
“I have not been able to get a copy of this book in my hands but I should be able to get a copy by tomorrow to confirm what is in it,” she wrote at the time.
Spence, who became superintendent in 2014, said that he wasn’t aware of parent complaints about the texts and had only heard requests made by Manning. He also said the books on Manning’s list are not widely available in the district, nor are they checked out by students.
“We had one copy of Lawn Boy and it has never been checked out,” Spence told the outlet, adding that the same goes for Gender Queer, one copy of which can be found in three of the district’s 11 high schools.
“It had only been checked out one time in one of the schools,” Spence said. “So this isn’t a rampant issue.”
Manning runs a sort of “wokeness whistleblower” website and has appeared on Fox and Friends claiming that teachers are “disguising” Critical Race Theory as “culturally responsive practices.”