The Biden Department of Education Office of Civil Rights concluded a Georgia district removal process to yank sexually explicit books from its libraries may have created a "hostile environment" for students in violation of federal law Friday.
Program Manager Jana L. Erickson, sent a letter to Superintendent Jeff Bearden of Forsyth County Schools on Friday reviewing the finding of the DOE's Title VI investigation.
The letter said that OCR found the district may have violated federal law by removing books which featured LGBTQIA+ content, as well as content parents complained contained critical race theory, despite the fact that they maintained the district's focus was only on pornographic books.
"OCR… recognizes the District limited its book screening process to sexually explicit material," the letter said. Nonetheless, OCR said it was concerned "the book screening process may have created a… racially and sexually hostile environment."
Months after parents began complaining to the district about "inappropriate" books in school libraries, the district took action in January 2022. According to Fox Atlanta, the district removed "The Bluest Eye" by Toni Morrison, which discusses "bestiality," as well as "All Boys Aren't Blue."
"All Boys Aren't Blue" is a non-fiction "manifesto" by a journalist named George Johnson geared for teenagers.
"As an avid porn watcher, the only thing I knew about anal sex previously was that it was painful, or at least played up as such on the cameras," the book said. "I was in pain for nearly three weeks following that encounter and too afraid to go to the doctor for help because I would have had to tell them I had been having anal sex."
"The Bluest Eye" also contained a series of sexually explicit passages.
"He could have been an active homosexual but lacked the courage, bestiality did not occur to him, and sodomy was quite out of the question for he did not experience sustained erections and could not endure the thought of somebody else's," it said.
Another passage in the book said, "I had a dream his penis changed into a long hickory stick, and the hands caressing it were the hands of M'Dear."
"She might wonder again, for the six hundredth time, what it would be like to have that feeling while her husband's penis is inside her," the book said.
According to Common Sense Media, the book entails a plot in which "more than one grown man behaves inappropriately with young girls." Other topics it covers included incest.
The Deptartment of Education based its conclusion on the fact that there was an impression created at board meetings, which harmed some students, that "that books were being screened to exclude diverse authors and characters, including people who are LGBTQI+ and authors who are not White, leading to increased fears and possibly harassment."
For example, a meeting summary of a January 12, 2022, meeting summary showed that the committee approved a statement about "family values" to be posted on the webpages of district libraries.
During another meeting, "Many parents called for the removal of… books… with… sexually explicit content; however, some comments focused on removing books for reasons related to gender identity or sexual orientation."
"Also, some parents made negative comments about… critical race theory."
The district settled the complaint Monday, according to Fox 5 Atlanta.
"Forsyth County Schools is committed to providing a safe, connected, and thriving community for all students and their families. With the implementation of the OCR’s recommendations, we will further our mission to provide an unparalleled education for all to succeed," the district said in a statement to Fox News Digital. "Our district will continue to follow Federal and State laws, and local Board policies and procedures, for media center materials."
"Under Title VI, harassment creates a hostile environment when the conduct is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive so as to interfere with or limit an individual’s ability to participate in or benefit from a recipient’s program," the letter said. "If OCR determines that the harassment was sufficiently severe that it would have adversely affected a reasonable person, of the same age and race, color, or national origin as the victim, under similar circumstances, from participating in or enjoying some aspect of the recipient’s education program or activity, OCR will find that a hostile environment existed."