CARTHAGE — Following a challenge to a controversial book with a transgender story-line, the Moore County Schools has appointed a Community Media and Technology Advisory Committee to review the inclusion of the book “George” in two school libraries.
The book remains on the shelves at Union Pines High School and McDeeds Creek Elementary School after building-level committees at both schools recommended the book stay in the libraries. The committee — which will be comprised of teachers, administrators, parents and students — will make a recommendation to the Board of Education. By statute, the local board of education has sole authority to retain or remove the book.
The book, written by Alex Gino, has been considered controversial for its transgender storyline of a fourth-grade boy who believes he is a girl named Melissa. The publisher’s website claims the book is recommended for children ages eight to 12.
The book, which is not required reading, can currently be accessed by any student in both McDeeds Creek Elementary and Union Pines High School.
The complaint to remove the book was filed in mid-December of 2021 by James Pedersen.
The complaint asks, “how is this appropriate for elementary students who haven’t even had sex ed yet?” The question follows an excerpt from the book where the lead character fantasizes about removing his genitals with scissors when thinking about a possible future sex change.
A portion of the complaint says it’s “not the government’s business to introduce to children transgenderism, sex changes, androgen blockers, cross dressing, internet porn, or LGBTQ lifestyles.”
According to the American Library Association’s 2019 list tracking the most challenged books, “George” ranks number one. Of the top 100 most challenged books for the ten years from 2010 to 2019, “George” ranked fifth even though it was only first published in 2015.
Pedersen told North State Journal that it took months to get anywhere with the district about his complaint about the book. He said he finally received information about how to lodge a complaint from Holmes and Rep. Jamie Boles (R-Moore).