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York School Committee votes to keep book in library

The York School Committee voted unanimously to uphold the superintendent's decision to keep the book "It's Perfectly Normal" in the middle school library

YORK, Maine — The York School Committee voted unanimously Wednesday night to uphold the superintendent's decision to keep a book titled "It's Perfectly Normal" that someone wanted banned from the middle school library. 

"My true hope is that students who have questions about their bodies or about sex will visit this book, "It's Perfectly Normal," instead of visiting Google, where they will no doubt be answered with pornographic pictures and video, false and unrealistic information, shaming of all kinds," said York School Committee member Meridith Schmid. 

In November, York resident Patsy Huntsman complained about the book's content and shared her concern that students are able to check the book out without their parents knowing. She's appealed a decision by York Superintendent Lou Goscinski to keep the book in the school. 

"'Most often, people have sexual intercourse because it feels good,'" said Huntsman as she read a quote from "It's Perfectly Normal" during a Jan. 19 school committee meeting. “What message does that send to a 10-year-old child?"

According to its cover, "It's Perfectly Normal" is about puberty, sex, and sexual health. Goscinski said the book hadn't been checkout out of the library for five years until recently.

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"A parent checked the book out and shared it with her child and didn't see any problems with the book," he said. "There's a number of court decisions that are against book banning, in general, and that's what I used to [make my decision to keep the book ]." 

Goscinski said measures are in place for parents to call the school if they don’t want their children checking out any particular book. He believes efforts to ban "It's Perfectly Normal" are part of a national movement taking away the rights of students.

“Rather than having an all-out ban on books, let's have some conversations and I think we’ve lost that in our society,” added Goscinski. 

Judith Rosenbaum, a professor of communications and journalism at the University of Maine, said banning books on topics such as puberty and sex education won’t stop a child from learning about them.

“When we ban books, we’re not taking information away from children," Rosenbaum told NEWS CENTER Maine. "We’re just taking a specific story away from them because they can still find that information somewhere else."

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