Drama is a graphic novel by Raina Telgemeier that’s perfectly appropriate for children, but Catholics in Canada are pulling it from elementary school libraries anyway because it features a kiss between two boys.
The book has always been challenged in Texas and other places in the Bible Belt. But now the Ottawa Catholic School Board has removed Drama from every elementary school library after parents complained about its LGBTQ+ content while boils down to little more than acknowledging the existence of gay characters who have the same hopes and dreams and crushes as everyone else.
In the emails, sent Jan. 7, Robert Long, the board’s co-ordinator of learning technology and support, tells librarians the books will be transferred to middle and high schools, where they will “more appropriately target 13+ students.”
Of course, Long denies that the same-sex kiss was “necessarily” the reason for the quiet change.
The reason for removing the book was “not necessarily for LGBTQ content,” Long wrote in the emails.
“The problem with the book is the actual relationship content,” he wrote.
“It is not a book we really need younger kids reading without guidance.”
The board is trying to avoid a public relations firestorm, which is probably why they didn’t openly make this change in the first place, but this book has been rated as appropriate for kids by book distributors that don’t have an axe to grind. Even the author of the book said, “I’m sad for the kids who need this book but can’t access it.”
Yes, DRAMA got banned in Ottawa’s Catholic elementary schools. And all this time we thought Canada was our most progressive sibling!
I’m sad for the kids who need this book but can’t access it. https://t.co/wx6pK6TBPS
— Raina Telgemeier (@goraina) January 15, 2019
Other reactions to the news were overwhelmingly critical as well.
Lyra Evans, a transgender woman who was recently elected to the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board, said pulling the book sends kids the wrong message.
“It makes it harder for young people to find themselves and makes it harder for young people to know there are other people like them,” she said…
Somerset Ward Coun. Catherine McKenney also voiced her shock and surprise at the Catholic school board’s move.
“I found it rather silly, really, but appalling at the same time,” McKenney said. “This is a school board, responsible for the education, the well-being, social, mental well-being of children in the community, and this is doing the exact opposite.”
They are exactly right. This was a bad move, motivated by outdated religious beliefs and disguised bigotry, and it should be reversed.