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Loudoun Co. School Library Book Promotes Prostitution, Authorities Investigate

May 31, 2022

The parents of Loudoun County, Virginia, are no strangers to controversy in their local school system. In the past year alone, elementary P.E. teacher Tanner Cross was suspended from school for refusing to deny the biological sex of students. Parents were silenced and arrested at a school board meeting where many spoke out against teaching critical race theory and allowing transgender-identifying students to use the opposite restroom. Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) was caught covering up a sexual assault incident, denying the claims of the father of one of the victims.

The moms and dads of Loudoun County students have been in a tooth-and-nail power struggle with a predominately Left-leaning school board over their rights in their children’s education. The outraged pushback of these parents was felt all the way to the ballot boxes in November 2021, when Republican Glenn Youngkin took the Virginia gubernatorial election on the promise of “parental rights in education.”

Now, the tumultuous pattern in LCPS continues. A Sterling Middle School teacher was shocked to come across a tweet from a parent discovering a book promoting prostitution in the school’s library: “Seeing Gender: An Illustrated Guide to Identity and Expression,” by Iris Gottlieb.

This textbook, featuring a chapter titled, “’Sex Work’ Is Not a Bad Term,” gives disturbing guidance to its target audience of minors: “In addition to the exchange of money for sexual services, a person may exchange sex or sexual activity for things they need or want, such as food, housing, hormones, drugs, gifts, or other resources.” In an attempt to normalize what it calls “sex work,” the book continues, “One important thing to note is that sex work is work. It’s a job like being a store clerk, an architect, or a freelance writer.”

According to investigative report by the Daily Wire, this teacher approached school librarian Stefany Guido with the book. She was met with a defense of the book’s importance in the library, with the librarian saying that some of the school’s students who engage in sex work have checked this book out and find it validating. Concerned, the teacher went to the authorities after learning from the librarian that middle school aged students may be engaging in local prostitution or trafficking. An investigation is currently underway.

This isn’t the first incident of sexually explicit reading material being taught or made available for students in public schools. Earlier this year in Loudoun County alone, a mother expressed concern over two novels being presented to LCPS ninth graders that included pornographic descriptions of sexual acts.

Like the parental fury that fueled Youngkin’s victory in 2021, the midterm elections this November are likely to show government institutions how parents really feel about what their kids are being taught in schools. FRC Action’s Vice President Brent Keilen agrees that incidents such as sexually explicit material in school libraries continue to fuel the deep concern of public schooling parents.

Will parents make ripples in the 2022 midterms? According to Keilen, “Over the last year, we’ve seen parents push back against radical indoctrination in district after district across the country. Education surged to become the defining issue of the Virginia elections last year. We’ve seen parents and citizens remain highly engaged this year and this incident will provide further motivation as they make their voices heard at school board meetings and the ballot box.”

One thing is clear — parents are not yet ready to stop addressing what they see as the indoctrination their children are facing in the classroom.

Marjorie Jackson is a reporter for The Washington Stand and FRC's Digital Media Specialist.