On April 3rd at 1:45 p.m., a student-led protest took place at the Thomas J. Keenan Stadium to challenge book banning. While some books are being questioned for explicit content, others on the list discuss topics regarding the LGBTQ+ community. For many, their reason to participate in the walk-out was to keep books that resonated with them in school libraries.
“Even though there are groups like the GSA, you will always be able to find comfort in a fictional world.” protest organizer, Aspen Bradley said.
Currently, only two out of the nine books have been banned; Surveys by Natasha Stagg, and an audiobook called The Haters by Jesse Andrews for detailed sexual content. The other books from the list are, I’m Not a Girl by Maddox Lyons and Jessica Verdi, The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, Me, Earl, & the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews, Flamer by Mike Curato, Fun Home by Alison Bechdel, The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta, and All Boys Aren’t Blue by George Johnson.
“All Boys Aren’t Blue hits home for me because I’m a member of the queer community and for the longest time I’ve felt alone in the district.” Aspen Bradley said.
To spread the word of the protest, Aspen reached out to several Philadelphia media outlets including NBC10 and the Philadelphia Inquirer. Two helicopters and a total of four different news reporters arrived on the scene on Monday afternoon.
The three organizers of the protest stood up and gave speeches to the crowd about the importance of keeping these books in school libraries. Riya Sringari, a senior, mentioned one reason for keeping sexual content is so students can learn and understand what’s right, what’s safe, and how to protect themselves.
At the next school board meeting, the school board will revisit this subject of book banning and it will be a test to determine peace in the Valley.
“At the end of the day it’s about the students, the teachers, our futures, our lives, and our voices. It’s not about politics or legislation,” Sringari said.