Parent Who Exposed Pornographic Library Books Sues After School Bans Him From Property

'This government entity believes that it can shut a citizen out of public life entirely if he challenges them, their decisions, or their authority,' says lawyer

LGBT-themed books at an elementary school in California (Getty Images)
July 15, 2022

A Maine parent is suing his local school board after he was banned from district property for speaking out against school library books that promote transgenderism and pornography.

In the wake of those complaints, Shawn McBreairty received a criminal trespass notice from the school district, according to a copy of the notice and the lawsuit. The Maine father of two daughters, who has campaigned against sexualized lesson plans in public schools, said during an April school board meeting that the books were "grooming students on premature sexual ideology," referencing a pornographic book the library marked as appropriate for all age groups.

The school board demanded that McBreairty leave for playing a recording of a conversation between him and Chairman Heath Miller, saying his descriptions of the books involved "vulgarity and obscenity." McBreairty said government-run school libraries should not offer the books, which the school board deemed too inappropriate to discuss among adults, to minors.

"I'm not anti-LGBTQ," McBreairty told the Washington Free Beacon. "I'm not anti-anything, but when somebody tries to use our tax dollars to indoctrinate kids with hypersexual materials, to me, that's nonsense."

The Hampden, Maine, school district is one of many nationwide to face pushback from parents over sexual library books. Florida parents in April demanded the Osceola and Orange County school boards remove from the library controversial books such as Gender Queer, the story of a person with "e/em/eir" pronouns, which parents said included "pornographic" details. A Virginia Beach, Va., school district removed Gender Queer and similar books from its libraries after parents complained in May. Parents in Frisco, Texas, also protested sexually explicit books in their children's school libraries.

McBreairty raised concerns about the district's Reads Three Reading Challenge, which awards K-12 students for reading books like All Boys Aren't Blue, which has been removed from libraries in at least eight states for concerns about "sexually graphic material, including descriptions of queer sex," and Hurricane Child, in which a 12-year-old girl falls in love with another girl.

The criminal trespass notice against McBreairty, which bans him from all virtual and in-person school-related meetings, violates his First Amendment rights, according to the lawsuit. The district should let McBreairty express his ideas and allow the community to judge the books for themselves, said Marc Randazza, who is representing McBreairty in the U.S. District Court for Maine.

"This government entity believes that it can shut a citizen out of public life entirely if he challenges them, their decisions, or their authority," Randazza told the Free Beacon. "It shouldn't matter what he's advocating for. If you can't advocate your position before the government without being told you're now locked out of public life, because you challenged us, well, that's not what freedom is."

In the recording McBreairty played at the April board meeting, Miller justified pornographic excerpts of a library book in the Hampden High School library, saying, "If you were to read it in the context of the whole book, it would have a different meaning." The board cited the incident to justify the criminal trespass notice, but no official policy against playing a video or recording during a school board meeting exists, the lawsuit states. Randazza said the board tried to add limitations to its policies to stop McBreairty from criticizing the library books.

The library at the district's Reeds Brook Middle School offers The Other Boy, a book about a 12-year-old boy who was born a girl and tries to conceal that he is transgender when his family moves towns; Middle School's A Drag: You Better Werk, the story of a young gay entrepreneur who starts his own junior talent agency with a 13-year-old aspiring drag queen as his first client; and Rick, a book about a boy who joins a "Rainbow Spectrum club, where kids of many genders and identities can express themselves." It also offers It's Perfectly Normal: A Book About Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health, which McBreairty read at a different school board meeting.

Another district library, Leroy H. Smith Elementary School, includes My Maddy, in which a child celebrates her "genderfluid" parent who is neither a mom nor a dad; My Rainbow, in which a mom "creates the perfect rainbow-colored wig for her transgender daughter"; and Julián Is a Mermaid, about a boy who wants to dress as a beautiful mermaid. It also offers Rise Up: The Art of Protest, which teaches children to protest for "gender equality, civil rights, LGBT rights, refugee and immigrant rights, peace, and the environment."

"Eight-year-old kids who don't know how to spell 'blue' are basically being asked to do art for protests," McBreairty said.

The Regional School Unit #22 school district and 2022 Maine Teacher of the Year Kelsey Stoyanova, who crafted the Reads Three program, have appealed to "intellectual freedom" in defense of the library books. But McBreairty said the intellectual freedom argument is a Trojan horse for the Maine Department of Education's radical agenda.

"Their program is to indoctrinate kids while they're young without parental permission," he said. "Don't try to force that stuff on me or my daughters with my tax dollars."

Regional School Unit #22 did not respond to a request for comment. Miller did not respond to a request for comment.