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2 Newtown Board of Education members resign ahead of book ban vote

"Flamer" by Mike Curato is one of two books at the center of a book banning debate in Newtown. The Newtown Board of Education will vote on restricting access to it and “Blankets” by Craig Thompson.
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"Flamer" by Mike Curato is one of two books at the center of a book-banning debate in Newtown where the Board of Education will vote on restricting access to it and “Blankets” by Craig Thompson.

Two Newtown Board of Education members have resigned just a day before they were scheduled to vote on whether to ban two books in the Newtown High School library.

Republican school board members Janet Kuzma and Jennifer Larkin stepped down Wednesday ahead of Thursday's vote. There are now two Republicans and three Democrats on the board, which had been deadlocked 3 to 3 over whether the books should be banned.

The books in question are "Flamer" by Mike Curato and "Blankets" by Craig Thompson. Both address gender identity and sexuality. Those who oppose the books say the novels are overly graphic and should be removed.

Douglas Lord, a librarian and president of the Connecticut Library Association, is among those who fear a book ban would embrace the practice.

“Even if they are successful in banning the book, what does that do? What is the end goal?" Lord said. "I think that people have gotten so caught up in the fight that they’re not thinking about the outcome of the fight.”

Supporters say the proposed ban is an attempt to remove LGBTQ+ books from the school library and are a form of censorship for kids who are in the process of figuring out their identity.

Lesley Cosme Torres is an Education Reporter at Connecticut Public. She reports on education inequities across the state and also focuses on Connecticut's Hispanic and Latino residents, with a particular focus on the Puerto Rican community. Her coverage spans from LGBTQ+ discrimination in K-12 schools, book ban attempts across CT, student mental health concerns, and more. She reports out of Fairfield county and Hartford.

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