Police Chief Apologizes After School Searched For Banned Book

(LibertySociety.com) – A Dec. 8 incident involving the police chief of Great Barrington, Mass., has garnered nationwide attention in recent days. The city’s police chief issued an apology after an incident involving a controversial book search occurred at W.E.B. DuBois Regional Middle School. The police department received a complaint about the book “Gender Queer: A Memoir” being present at the school. The complaint included a photo of an illustrated page of the book, which depicted characters engaging in explicit wanton acts. Following the complaint, the department sent an officer in plain clothes to search the school for the book.

Police Chief Paul Sorti previously provided comment to the media regarding the incident, stating that it was the department’s “duty to examine the complaint further.” He then addressed the incident in a Facebook statement on Dec. 21, apologizing for how the situation was handled. He added that the police department was working alongside the school as it always had in the past. He wrote that the department’s involvement in the incident was “not meant to disenfranchise anyone or influence school curriculum.” Although Sorti did not elaborate any further, he apologized for potentially causing alarm or giving people a reason to lose trust in the department.

The controversial book has been banned in many schools across the country, although some have reversed their decisions. It contains several illustrations of individuals of the same gender performing oral and anal acts on each other, and these images have been widely circulated online. The National Education Association, which is the largest teacher’s union in the country, listed the book as one of the top summer reads for educators, sparking backlash.

The increased attention on school curricula since 2020 has resulted in lawmakers across the country passing legislation to remove controversial and inappropriate materials from public schools. Most efforts have been successful in Republican-controlled states, but not without pushback. Missouri passed a new law in 2022 that banned certain photographic materials from public school libraries, including “Gender Queer,” but is still dealing with a lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union over the law.

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