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Both in the Charlotte region and across the country, book battles have become a regular feature of school board meetings, as parents’ rights groups share tips on finding sexual content and other offensive material in students’ reading material.

CMS reviews 8,500 books after parent group finds explicit sexual content

The first book flagged by Moms For Liberty was “Let’s Talk About It: The Teen’s Guide To Sex, Relationships and Being a Human," discovered at Palisades High School.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools says the district will review thousands of high school library books after a parent group found copies of one with explicit sexual content.

The first book flagged was “Let’s Talk About It: The Teen’s Guide To Sex, Relationships and Being a Human." CMS Communications Chief Shayla Cannady said the book came as part of a bundle of 8,500 books advertised as appropriate for high school students. She says CMS ordered the books for new schools.

Brooke Weiss, president of the Mecklenburg County chapter of Moms For Liberty, says she read about “Let’s Talk About It” being challenged at another school and searched the computerized library catalog to see if any CMS schools had it. She discovered that the new Palisades High School had the book.

The book contains illustrated descriptions of how to pleasure oneself and others, some of which Moms For Liberty circulated on social media Thursday. Weiss said she later learned about another book at Palisades, “Sex Plus: Learning, Loving and Enjoying Your Body,” that also contains explicit material.

After Weiss raised questions about “Let’s Talk About It,” CMS located copies at Palisades and West Charlotte High, which moved into a new building this year. Cannady said there is no record of students having checked the book out. She says the bundle of books, sent by a school book vendor called Mackin, were delivered as “shelf-ready, meaning they are packaged for volunteers to house on the shelf.”

“To further ensure student safety, the district has established a process to review all 8,500 books that might have special considerations,” Cannady wrote Thursday evening. “Since this book is also available at the Mecklenburg County public library, the district has also removed all access on Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools digital platforms to check out any materials until any additional risk can be mitigated.”

“Moving forward, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is developing processes and procedures to prevent this from happening again,” Cannady added.

Weiss said Friday she's grateful for the quick response from CMS.

"I think the bigger point to take away from this is you just can’t trust the publishing companies, the people that are putting out recommended book lists," she said. "That bundle that they bought was intended for a school library."

Weiss said she is still pushing for CMS to create a more efficient process for parents to challenge books. She said she has not asked schools to remove books, but wants a special "limited access" section where parents would have to approve student access.

Moms for Liberty is a nationwide group that formed in Florida in early 2021 in response to frustration over COVID-19 safety restrictions in schools. It’s since grown to more than 250 chapters across the country. One of the group’s frequent activities is challenging books deemed overly sexual or otherwise inappropriate for schools.


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Ann Doss Helms has covered education in the Charlotte area for over 20 years, first at The Charlotte Observer and then at WFAE. Reach her at ahelms@wfae.org or 704-926-3859.