Book review: Parents, grandparents defend Anchorage children at the Anchorage School Board



Like bears coming out from hibernation, mama and papa bears showed up at the Anchorage School Board on Feb. 22 to defend their children and grandchildren from pornographic books that are being found more frequently in school libraries.

A veteran who has two children in Anchorage schools, testified about the board shutting down fellow parent Jay McDonald reading from “Let’s Talk About It.” The board had stopped McDonald earlier this month from reading from “Let’s Talk About It,” giving no reason for suppressing his right of free speech.

“This board’s 5-2 vote to censor speech is a slap in the face of one of the most important constitutional rights afforded to all citizens,” the veteran said.

He then questioned if the board could not handle the testimony, then members have no right being part of the conversation. He also said worried what would happen to students if they are not allowed to speak up in class when they disagree with the teacher or a book. He asked if a student would be able to have a different opinion than the “institutionally approved lesson plan or textbook?” Would students merely censor themselves because they feel marginalized?

McDonald, who previously read from the book, “Let’s Talk About It”, and read to the board a passage from “This Book Is Gay” in October, said the district’s response to him was, “We never let kids see that book, it’s just for the staff.”

Why are the State of Alaska and the Municipality of Anchorage taxpayer funding pornographic books for school staff that they believe are not appropriate for the children? Does the staff read these books in their break rooms? Or are these books selected by staff for children to read?  

“The policy that ASD has under their diversity, equity, and inclusion push, that they’ve been transitioning kids in school and hiding it from parents — first they were telling me that it was not happening, and the materials I was asking for don’t exist,” McDonald said to the board Tuesday.

Another parent testified, “This material is actually illegal according to Alaska Statute AS 61.11.128.” He wondered how the district was going to control access to the pornographic books. “That’s like keeping cocaine in your house and telling kids, “Do not touch.”

One parent asked the board, “Why would staff need access to a sexually explicit material when it is obviously not appropriate for our children in the school”?

Robert from Utqiagvik has two students in the district schools. He asked why there were different pronouns on the district’s “Plan to Address Title IX Gender Issues.”  He also objected that parents were not consulted on that student’s gender identity form.

John Cunningham, who also testified, believes that culture belongs to the family. He stressed that the family needed to be notified about questionable or possibly pornographic books. The family has the responsibility and right to control the child’s education.

Referring to a pornographic book, Cunningham further stated, “I figure anyone who would hurt a kid in that way shouldn’t be working in this kind of field. And these kids didn’t sign up to be pawns in this culture war.”

He continued: “I’m not here to address a specific piece of material, I’m just trying to tell you, you can be on the side that’s trying to get this in kids’ hands, and whether or not you’re doing it on purpose, I don’t know, but to do so without the family’s input, without the parents tracking it, doesn’t seem right.”

A mother with two young boys spoke in defense of all children. She asked, “My biggest concern is how can I protect them. You guys cannot have my children and they will not be subject to this,” as she showed two of the pornographic books.

A teacher testified that she found the books “positively defiling.”  She wondered why the staff needed these books in a public school setting.

Another former teacher and military instructor said it was a great mystery to him why we are teaching elementary age children about sex at all. He noted that this is where perversion starts that winds people up in prison.

That former teacher said, “You put the wrong material out there and you just bred a molester, you just bred a rapist.  That’s where it starts.  Our children are better than this.”

After the concerned parents voiced their serious concerns, Celeste Hodge Growden, the CEO of Alaska Black Caucus, addressed honesty and integrity. She said Jay McDonald had actually checked out the book from the Loussac Library, not the ASD school libraries.

She implied that the book was not even in the ASD school libraries.

Growden said, “I learned this book was never accessible to students.”  But it was available to students. Until it wasn’t, suddenly.

McDonald said he cannot check books out from the school libraries, which is why he got it from the Loussac. He said she is arguing irrelevant details to avoid the real issues.

She then attacked Jay McDonald’s testimony as “baseless allegations.”  She further wanted him to apologize to the board or walk back his “misinformation.”

A page from a book, “Let’s Talk About It,” that Alaska Black Caucus CEO Celeste Hodge Growden defended.

Growden then that several articles have “misinformation” and implied that these articles have led to personal attacks and threats against teachers, librarians, the school board, administrative staff, and even bomb threats.

It is unclear how Growden knew about alleged attacks on various board and ASD staff. There is no substantiation about the source of the alleged bomb threats.

Parents stood up for children, unlike the National Education Association, which believes, “Teachers and school library media specialists must have the right to select and use materials and techniques without censorship or legislative interference.” (NEA Today magazine).

The culture wars have begun. Only active parents, grandparents and other citizens can determine the outcome.

David Boyle is the education writer for Must Read Alaska.


    • With respect… don’t see how Donley’s any different from all the other corrupt perverts who make up the School Board.
      Donley voted with them to push contracts over $1M to union-only shops, which makes one wonder whether school-district contracts are routinely padded to exceed $1M so they can be pushed to union shops. Donley never seems to condemn his colleagues openly and loudly for trying to sexualize minor children. So, what good is he, why shouldn’t he be disbarred for apparent collusion in contract padding and sexualizing minor children?
      Just asking… no right or wrong answer…

      • Dave donley has been the only board member to even mention the sexualization of children and has even tried to get the minutes, member names on the Controversial Issues Committee to no avail. The other members stonewall Mr. Donley and won’t even second his motions so that the issue cannot be addressed–it is killed then and there. In the past Mr. Donley has also questioned the use of books such as “White Fragility” and why our children are being indoctrinated in Marxism. He could be more bold but that wouldn’t get him anywhere either. Margo Bellamy, board president, is the big supporter of gender identity, sexualization of students, and Marxism/socialism in our schools. The other board members agree with their silence.

        • Something’s missing, David.
          Donley seemed courageous enough about pushing million-dollar contracts to union friends, but he doesn’t seem so intrepid about saving children from the perverted attentions of his colleagues.
          Wonder if it’s worth hoping the guy’s a confidential informant working to bring down the whole rotten, corrupt mob.

  1. Everybody should pull their kids out of ASD and one school for one year by then the ADS will be out of business and we could demand a voucher system. Like another person said then if the kids are failing that school gets no vouchers. Teach kids or no money.

    • Under a voucher system, failing schools may get vouchers…. from drug addicted parents looking for a place to babysit their children while those parents sit around getting stoned and high while living on welfare. All is for the best in best of all possible worlds.

      • But if the kids learn and get a passing grade then it works. Just because it’s a broken home doesn’t mean failure.

  2. Let’s just say it like it really is:
    The far Left-wing of the Democratic Party feel emboldened under Joe Biden to advance their ultra-radicalized agenda into the public schools. That agenda is to force LGBTQ culture through public education and to harmonize it with mainstream teaching methods. Their objective is to promote and advance as many LGBTQ students into our society as possible, while denouncing Christian-based values.
    If they are successful, our country will be a God-hating society with no traditional family structures and even worse……..a country of mentally ill people who have no core values to pass on to subsequent generations.

  3. Anchorage school board has an agenda and not representing the best for the school and children. Obviously the majority needs to be removed and replaced with parents.

    • The school Board like the Assembly enables this because they can. They have been elected and like it or not they will continue. Principled folks will only be reactionary because we cannot elect people that will not tolerate this agenda. Reactionary because we do not know what else they are up to.

  4. And the school board cares as much as Grandpa Joe does East Palestine. Zero, zilch, zip, nada.

    The school board knows they will be re-elected no matter what they do.

    Between the apathy of liberal parents and the insanity of not having members elected by district, they know-KNOW- they can do almost any damn thing they want and they will be re-elected.

    Love your kids? Get them out of Anchorage public schools. Just that simple. Modern public education is child abuse. Nothing less.

  5. Read the article Some angry parents heated over “inappropriate” books in school libraries. ASD was to have sent the AK news source an e mail saying the book Let’s Talk about it” was in the professional section of the school library. I checked with a retired school librarian and she stated there is no Professional section in school libraries. I e mailed Lex Yelverton who wrote the article asking who on the school board e mailed her stating the book was in professional section. I also e mailed Margo Bellamy with my questions (which I thought were reasonable ) thinking she was a school librarian and could answer them, however, she sent my e-mail to the superintendent’s office. I have no faith in the school superintendent as he is a major advocate of Diversity. So my advice to parents is bombard Gov Dunleavy with requests for money for School Choice and keep your kids out of the public schools School choice governors over the country are and will listen to parents.If the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion group would spend as much time on educating children instead of indoctrinating them with sex they may be able to read well at the fourth grade level

  6. Abolish the Department of Education, defund the NEA and press charges against any school officials purposely pushing inappropriate materials on children. Use decency laws against them. If there are no decency laws, then create them ASAP! Any parent that has the ability to homeschool their kids, should do so. Tell the Governor to allow the tax money to follow the child and assist parents in properly educating their child.

  7. I am a mother of 4 grown children and 10 grandchildren. Back in the late 80’s early 90’s my kids elementary school and middle school were introducing a new curriculum . I’m not sure how I heard about it, but it was several books to share with grades K-12 all about “I have 2 mommies”, or I have 2 dads. And teaching about AIDS, which had just hit the scene. I was very active in gathering parents to show up to board meetings to oppose it. We won that battle, but did not win the war. My Christian faith and my church told us there is a “agenda” to this and it will permeate every part of society. Fast forward 2023. Look at how it’s not just about being gay, I think most people accept that, your choice. But look how it has corrupted our society , our schools , and if you’re not onboard you’re a homofob. It’s a militant aggressive movement that is changing our society and our children. My children did not question their sexuality… well one did after she went to a very liberal California college. It was short lived , but that atmosphere was making her question who she was . I’m trying to make a point and forgive my rambling, but the atmosphere has changed , and as parents you better stand up for your kids. Be strong and fight the good fight .

  8. All of the Anchorage school board members are morbidly obese – except one.
    If they can’t find the ability to monitor and control their health – why are we trusting them to watch out for our children’s moral and ethical upbringing.
    These kids can’t even perform the Three R’s at grade level.
    They are gross and disgusting – and their failure as stewards of our children is disturbing.

  9. They need to put the political affiliation of the school board members back the ballot. Please don’t give me the school board isn’t suppose to be political nonsense . Leftist will be leftist no matter what office the6 hold same can be said for conservatives but hey conservatives aren’t pushing porn on grade schoolers or defending drag queen story hour .

  10. They need to put political affiliation of school board candidates back on the ballot. Leftists will be leftists no matter what public office they hold he’ll the same could be said for conservatives but conservatives aren’t pushing porn 9n grade schoolers and defending drag queen story hour or performing simulated sex acts for kids.

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