Book controversy in Quitman

By Layron Livingston - bio | email

QUITMAN, TEXAS (KLTV) - Jonathan Reck said his 14-year-old daughter was on the waiting list for days to check out Vegan Virgin Valentine from the Quitman Junior High library.

"I don't think there's a parent in this town that would agree that that book needs to be on the shelf," he said.

Reck said his girlfriend's son told him what the book was about, so he read a few pages himself.

"The scene it describes is right on the verge of pornography," he said, referring to a sexual encounter described in the book. "It leaves very little to the imagination."

Some of the language is also quite frank. The book has been banned from some schools across the country.

Reck said he took the book to the Junior High school principal. Principal Garland Willis told him a committee would have determine whether or not the book would be pulled.

Reck said he then took his concerns to Superintendent Leland Moore. Reck was present when the superintendent told Willis to remove the book and others like it from the library shelves.

"When I left his office that day, I assumed that was the end of it," he said.

That was in September.

Since then, we've learned two grievances were filed: one by the junior high principal, and the other by a group of English teachers.

We're told one those grievances involved a batch of books pulled from the library.

Willis declined tells us his grievance was filed because of a difference of opinion involving procedural issues.

District policy requires a committee of teachers, staff, students and parents to review and discuss questionable material before a decision is made to remove, or keep it. During the review process, the material is not removed.

Kent Weems, Quitman ISD board president, also declined to speak with us on-camera, Tuesday. Weems did speak with us by phone and said the book problem was just part of an overall personnel issue that he could not discuss. He said the agreement was a mutual decision.

"Morally, and as a parent, I think [Moore] did the right thing," said Reck.

The superintendent's parking space was empty today. His photo has already been pulled from the wall inside the administration office.

We called Moore, who also declined to comment. The Quitman High librarian said, as of Tuesday afternoon, the pulled books had not made it back to the shelves.

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