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Library books challenged in Fallbrook high schools

Rick Monroe

Special to the Village News

Two books in Fallbrook Union High School District libraries are being challenged. Superintendent Ilsa Garza-Gonzalez shared the information at the school board's meeting last month, saying a review committee was being formed to examine the books.

The books in question are "Beyond Magenta" by Susan Kuklin and "Fun Home" by Allison Bechdel. Kuklin's book was on the shelf at Fallbrook High School and Bechdel's at Ivy High School, the district's continuation high school.

"The books are not used as instructional materials," the superintendent told the board, saying per board policy, complaints would be heard by a committee composed of administrators and staff members to determine the extent the challenge material supports the curriculum, the educational appropriateness of the material, and its suitability for the age level.

The books have been removed from the libraries for review by the superintendent and committee.

"Beyond Magenta," published in 2014, has been on the American Library Association's list of books most often challenged, cited for "for LGBTQIA+ content and because it was considered to be sexually explicit." Kuklin's story chronicles six real-life trans teens and young adults. Kuklin interviewed each of them before, during, and after transition, and formed all the interviews into one cohesive narrative.

The book was accused of being "anti-family" and "sexually explicit" and has regularly been on banned book lists since its release. In the 2021-2022 school year, it was pulled from classroom or school library bookshelves 11 times.

"Fun Home" is a narrative, released in 2006, told through comic-style illustrations. It is a memoir of Bechdel's life growing up with a closeted gay father. She herself came out as a lesbian after his death. It was adapted as a musical in 2013. The book is also on the ALA list of books most often challenged.

Garza-Gonzalez said the district's board policy about complaints concerning instructional materials administrative regulations are available on the district's web

Page, She noted that the district is working on partnering with the San Diego

County Office of Education to become the librarian of record.

The district's media specialist, Mara Baur, is in her first school year with the district and provided the names of the books being reviewed.


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