Fact Check: Was Clark County Mom Silenced Over 'Graphic' School Assignment?

Posts on social media suggested that the mother of a Nevada teenager was cut off at a school board meeting for reading "pornographic" material that her daughter was supposedly "required" to recite in class.

The video, which was shared by the Twitter account Libs of TikTok and spread widely on Tuesday, claims the student was "required" to read from "a graphic assignment," which the mother began to cite before being "cut off" for inappropriateness.

The incident added fuel to broader debate over the censorship of books and educational material across the United States.

Clark County School Meeting
A screengrab taken from footage of the Clark County School District Meeting, May 12, 2022, in which a parent complained about a "pornographic" reading assignment which she claimed her daughter was asked to recite Clark County School District

The Claim

On May 17, 2022, Twitter account Libs of TikTok posted a video that it claimed showed a mother of a Nevada student being "cut off" while reciting a "graphic assignment" given to her daughter at school.

In the video, the woman says "I'm going to read you an assignment given to my 15-year-old daughter at a local high school. This will be horrifying for me to read to you but that will give you perspective on how she must have felt, when her teacher required her to memorize this and to act it out in front of her entire class."

She claims the passage read: "I don't love you. It's not you, it's just I don't like your d*** or any d*** in that case. I cheated Joe."

The meeting pauses briefly before a member of the school district board advises that "We are not using profanity."

A copy of what is claimed to be the passage quoted in the meeting was posted on Twitter by Power2Parent Union. Newsweek could not immediately verify whether it is the same text that the mother was quoting.

The Facts

The video on Twitter suggests the meeting of Nevada's Clark County School District (CCSD) was cut short after profane language was used.

While the meeting was briefly paused to enforce the CCSD's meeting rules, the speaker was, in fact, given the full allotted time to speak and acquiesced with the district's request not to use vulgar language.

A video of the full meeting published by CCSD shows the speaker (see from 16:50) being given the full two minutes available to speak, as per the directions of the board agenda for May 12, 2022.

The video on Twitter censors the explicit language, which may give the impression CCSD further censored its meeting's content.

Footage from the meeting shows the language wasn't censored, although members of the CCSD ask for the speaker to refrain from "profanity" in accordance with meeting "decorum".

The video shared on Twitter may have been censored elsewhere, possibly in abidance with TikTok community guidelines (although the video appears to have been taken directly from the feed of the meeting online).

Later, the mother goes on to mention that her daughter may have been punished by school administration for not taking part in class.

She also claimed the assignment violated Nevada law NRS 200.710 which states it is a crime when a person "knowingly uses, encourages, entices, coerces or permits a minor to be the subject of a sexual portrayal in a performance."

There appears to be no evidence that a recital of the passage quoted at the meeting violates that law.

There is also no evidence that the assignment, in the form presented by the concerned mother, was set by the school board or taken from the student curriculum.

In a tweet sent in response to the attention on social media, the CCSD said that while it was investigating the situation, the assignment consisted of "a student-generated writing exercise that produced content not conducive to student instruction."

Any suggestion that the material quoted in the meeting was part of the curriculum appears to be false and was instead created by students for the class.

Newsweek has contacted the Clark County School District for comment about the context of the assignment and the account during the board meeting.

The incident speaks to a much broader conversation happening across the U.S. over the increased influence of parental groups on school curriculum and library material.

In April 2022, the American Library Association said the United States faced an "unprecedented" number of bids to have books banned, saying there had been nearly 1,600 instances of books being either challenged or removed in 2021.

In January 2022, Texas students strongly objected to a school board's "book review" that would allow board members to ban books from district schools without public comment.

And in November 2021, a Kansas school district pulled almost 30 books from circulation in school libraries including Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, its sequel The Testaments, Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye and The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas.

Libs of TikTok, an account with more than 1.2 million followers on Twitter, has attracted waves of controversy for naming teachers and their places of work, calling for them to be fired and accusing them of "grooming children."

The Ruling

Fact Check - Mostly False

Mostly False.

While a Clark County School District meeting was briefly paused after a mother of a pupil quoted an alleged reading assignment that used profane language, she was given her full allotted time to speak. A video of the meeting was not censored. The phrases recited at the meeting appear to have been written by students as part of a creative writing task, not a text assigned to Clark County schools, as some have inferred from the video.

FACT CHECK BY NEWSWEEK