ESCAMBIA COUNTY, Fla. (WKRG) – The principal of the English department at Northview High School in Escambia County is asking the school board to evaluate more than 100 books she says contain explicit sexual content , graphic language, themes, vulgarity and political thrusts.
Vicki Baggett has been teaching for 31 years, 20 in Florida and 11 in Alabama. She said she received a set of class novels that arrived in her class before the end of the school year last year. The set was Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky.
“It was a book I had never heard of before,” Baggett said. “When I pre-read this book, I found it to be full of questionable and age-inappropriate material, including a lot of oral sex, bestiality, and things of that nature.”
Immediately, Baggett said she began contacting the Escambia County School District office. After waiting for the book to be reviewed, Baggett said she started looking through other books that are currently in the library.
“I wanted to know who ordered these books,” Baggett said. “I had to fill out a form for this book to be potentially reviewed and I’m still waiting to hear about it. In the meantime, I’ve been researching different books that we have in all the school libraries. J “I was amazed at what I found. It has nothing to do with my preference for things, it has to do with what is appropriate, especially by law.
Another book Baggett found in the library is called Beartown. The story follows the events leading up to the rape of a 15-year-old girl, Maya Andersson, by star junior hockey player Kevin Erdahl, and the aftermath for Maya and Kevin, the players, their families, friends and the community which has a long history. -permanent reputation as a hockey city.
“He’s got the F-word 83 times,” Baggett said. “He also mentions having sex with animals.”
She then mentioned Eleanor & Park, written by Rainbow Rowell. Baggett said he was very racist towards Asians and Koreans and was also religiously inflammatory.
“It has extreme sexual content,” Baggett said. “Like where kids are allowed to listen to their parents having sex. We have particularly sexually explicit books in our high schools and middle schools. Even in our elementary schools.
For Baggett, his list isn’t about banning books, it’s about making sure books are age-appropriate.
“I mean, since I spoke with the media, our school district has taken a stand and I’m very happy about that,” Baggett said. “It’s because our parents are talking, which I knew would be the case.”
Baggett’s book list will be converted into a special “restricted section” in all public school libraries in Escambia County. Parents must allow their children to view them while they are taking the exam.
“I think the restricted section is a good start,” Baggett said. “I think they are proactive. Some of them can pass the exam process, and if so, that’s fine, but I will have done my part by being a good guardian of the students , because a lot of it is not appropriate.Until parents start taking and doing their thing to see what is available in their high schools, there is nothing else I can do.
With many of the books on Baggett’s list dealing with the LGBTQ community, she said it’s okay if schools have them, but they should be in a special category. One book on the list that is included in elementary school is And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson. The children’s book, illustrated by Henry Cole, tells the story of two male penguins, Roy and Silo, who start a family together.
“Parents should have a say in whether their minors can view these books,” Baggett said. “We are not a university library. We are not a public library. So the parents must have the right to that, unless the child is 18 years old. I’m a book lover, but we have to recognize what parents want. We have no right to introduce these children to what the parents do not accept.
Another thing Baggett is concerned about is how many books she says deal with rape and pedophilia.
“What I see in the new literature is that there’s nothing wrong with it, it’s the new normal,” Baggett said. “In fact, my school district will be surprised when I present them with another list of 33 books and the number one book that bothers me the most is about the rape of an eight-year-old girl and at the end of the book, she The man doing this to her is in his thirties and it’s like this is the new normal. How disturbing is this? I’m blown away. We don’t need this in our schools. If , for some reason they look at it and decide they need to include it for exposing kids to it, that’s fine, but it needs to be marked so parents can decide if their child can read it. is all it’s about.
The response from parents, Baggett said, has been excellent.
“They were like me, I’ve been teaching at my school for 20 years and I had no idea we had books like this in our library,” Baggett said. “They want to figure out how they can start monitoring these books. They are very worried and they have the right to be. Public school is not the end of everything. We don’t need pornography in our libraries. Often these things creep into the books, and we don’t even realize what’s going on until we break down and read the books. That’s what I encourage parents to do. Read the books. Be proactive.”
For those wishing to see the full list of 116 books provided by Baggett, see below:
Stay ahead of the biggest stories, breaking news and weather in Mobile, Pensacola and the Gulf Coast and Alabama. Download the WKRG News 5 news app and make sure to enable push alerts.