The Oct. 10 meeting of the Dearborn Public Schools (DPS) officials originally centered around new procedures and resources for reviewing books removed from classrooms.
In September, the board temporarily removed seven books from circulation after parents complained of the titles having inappropriate content. The axed titles include "This Book is Gay," "The Lovely Bones" and "Red, White and Royal Blue."
DPS clarified at the time that it had not banned any books. The removal was done in order to evaluate the seven books if they are age-appropriate and present content in an acceptable manner. The school district said the seven titles will be returned to bookshelves if they pass the criteria. (Related: Keller ISD in Texas pulls several books – including the Bible – from school libraries.)
However, the meeting's agenda did not sit too well with the attendees, particularly Muslim parents. Some of them even brought signs airing their frustration against the controversial books.
Niraj Warikoo of the Detroit Free Press posted pictures of the signs held up by both Christian and Muslim parents during the meeting on his Twitter.
One sign stated: "Homosexual desires and actions" were "shameful and unnatural." It even cited a passage from the first letter of the Apostle Paul to the Corinthians, which said that sodomites were "wrongdoers" who will "not inherit the Kingdom of God."
Another sign emphasized that adultery and homosexuality are "big sins" and that marriage is a phenomenon arising from an innate sexual desire between a man and a woman. "All divine religions are against this kind of [homosexual] relationship," it added.
A third sign written in both English and Arabic admonished school officials to "keep [their pornographic] books to [themselves] and [their houses], not in [kids'] hands." A fourth sign encapsulated the thoughts of the parents who attended: "If democracy matters, we're the majority."
DPS School Board President Roxanne McDonald set a maximum limit of three minutes for every speaker, which did not sit too well with the crowd.
"You have no right to sit there and tell us we can't talk," said one man who attended the meeting. He was met with cheers from the crowd, which then turned into boos against the school board. The community was reminded to calm down if they wanted the meeting to continue, but this possibility quickly evaporated.
A DPS official later took the podium and chided attendees that they were violating the fire code, adding that some people ought to leave the room.
"We're not fighting the board. We're working with the board as parents and the public and taxpayers. We have to work together because the law supports the parents for the student's education," the male official noted. "However, in this case through the hallways, the setting right here, we're breaking the fire code."
This prompted the crowd to shout at the official. Amid the commotion, one board member called for a recess – which was taken minutes later. As board members exited the room, the angry crowd chanted "vote them out."
Issa Shahin, chief of the Dearborn Police Department, later informed attendees that the meeting was suspended and would continue on Oct. 13. He also pleaded with the community to calm down, saying that "Dearborn is better than this."
DPS Communications and Marketing Director David Mustonen lamented the incident: "It is disappointing that a few people created a disruption that prevented the many others from sharing their thoughts."
Head over to PublicEducation.news for more stories like this.
Watch this clip from the school board meeting that features outraged parents chanting "vote them out" as the board members exit.
This video is from the Beautifulhorizons2 channel on Brighteon.com.
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