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'It's Perfectly Normal' will not be banned at Maine school district

The vote took place on Tuesday evening at MSAD 6. Parents originally appealed the book in spring of 2022.

BUXTON, Maine — The MSAD 6 school board voted 10-1 against removing a book on Tuesday. 

Teachers and parents piled into the district's central office to voice their opinions on the book in question, "It's Perfectly Normal," published in 1994. 

Officials said it took 70 hours of staff time combined to review the book. This process cost taxpayers an estimated $2,000. 

It all started back in the spring when the school's superintendent told NEWS CENTER Maine a parent mentioned the book when speaking to a principal. From there, the situation escalated, and two weeks ago, some parents called the book pornographic. 

A few parents requested the book be pulled from the school's library. 

Eric Bleicken said he is a grandfather of a Bonnie Eagle High School student. He told NEWS CENTER Maine he wrote the appeal to the book.

"The people who want to keep the book have tried to make it something about the LGBTQ+ community. What we're trying to say is anything to do with sexual behavior is something to be dealt with at home and not in the public school," Bleicken said.

But for parents at MSAD 6 who have children in the LGTBQ+ community, the comments made by those opposed hit home, like for Betsy Tuohui, who said her middle schooler is transgender.

"They're [those against the book] thinking about the impacts of themselves, and I really don't think they are aware of their impacts on others," Tuohui said.

The book is not required reading for any students at MSAD 6 schools. The school board said two weeks ago its members would read "It's Perfectly Normal" before deciding if it was age appropriate. 

The book is rated for children ages 10 and up and discusses sexual identity, sexual health, and puberty. 

Gia Drew, executive director of Equality Maine, said the book is important for kids as it normalizes LGBTQ+ relationships for students and families. 

"Not everyone is straight too, so it's important when we provide education, we're being accurate," Drew said.

MSAD 6 is also going to review the book "Gender Queer" at the request of parents who say it is too graphic. "Gender Queer" is a graphic novel about a nonbinary person in their journey of finding identity.

MSAD 6 officials said a hearing and vote would come some time in October.

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