COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – Governor Henry McMaster on Wednesday requested an investigation be launched into “obscene and pornographic materials” in public schools after parents complained about the contents of the book Gender Queer: A Memoir, which explores sexual identity.
Parents in Fort Mill recently sent “examples of pornographic materials found in schools” to McMaster, which prompted him to make the requests.
McMaster said that the parents “were recently required to petition the Fort Mill School District to remove a book from a school’s physical or digital library, titled Gender Queer: A Memoir, by Maia Kobabe.”
He said that the book “contains sexually explicit and pornographic depictions, which easily meet or exceed the statutory definition of obscenity.” McMaster continued, saying “for sexually explicit materials of this nature to have ever been introduced or allowed in South Carolina’s schools, it is obvious that there is or was either a lack of, or a complete breakdown in, any existing oversight processes or the absence of appropriate screening standards.”
McMaster has asked SC Superintendent of Education, Molly Spearman, to lead the investigation. He also asked the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) to investigate whether any state laws have been broken.
He said that “aside from being deeply disturbing and manifestly inappropriate, it is likely illegal under South Carolina law” to have such materials in schools.
A spokesman for the SC Department of Education said the agency immediately contacted the superintendent of Fort Mill who had already instructed staff to remove the book in question. At a statewide meeting of district superintendents later that week, districts were provided with the name of the book and publisher so they could review their library and media center materials.
“This is a fitting time for each district to review their own purchased texts including those used in classrooms, libraries, and media centers to ensure they are age and content appropriate. Schools and districts should not rely solely on publishers’ vetting. We must work alongside students, families, and educators for this process to be successful,” the spokesman said was told to district superintendents.
Editor’s note: This story is breaking and will be updated.