School Apologizes for Display Showing Books 'Adults Don't Want You to Read'

A northern Virginia school district has said "poor judgement was used" after receiving backlash over a high school library display that seemed to encourage kids to read "stuff some adults don't want you to read."

Fairfax County Public Schools, located outside of Washington, D.C., was drawn into an ongoing culture war earlier in the day over whether school libraries should pull books that some parents find racially divisive or sexually inappropriate.

Pat Herrity, a member of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, tweeted a picture taken at Langley High School that included displayed copies of controversial titles including Gender Queer, Roots of Racism, V for Vendetta, Brave Face and others.

The display also included a sign labeling the materials as "stuff some adults don't want you to read."

"Wrong on so many fronts," Herrity said in his tweet.

The display's sign was a clear reference to how schools across the country have pulled books from shelves over parent objections.

The books in the offending display at the Fairfax high school included Maus. The Pulitzer Prize–winning graphic novel was pulled from an eighth grade English-language arts curriculum in Tennessee after the McMinn County Board of Education unanimously voted to remove the book over concerns of profanity and a drawing of a nude woman.

Cover of Maus
This photo taken in Los Angeles, California, on January 27, 2022, shows the cover of the graphic novel 'Maus' by Art Spiegelman. On Tuesday, a Virginia school district drew criticism after a library display referred to how other school districts have banned it. MARO SIRANOSIAN //Getty Images

Maus depicts the story of author Art Spiegelman's Jewish parents' experience during the Holocaust. Spiegelman has said he worries that stories about Jewish Americans will be the next school-centered culture war issue after an uproar over charges that critical race theory has been taught in schools.

The image had circulated earlier on Twitter, generating criticism against Fairfax County Public Schools, already experiencing ongoing acrimony and legal wrangling over its mask mandate.

Carrie Lukas, president of the Independent Women's Forum, said on Twitter that the display showed the district "doubling down on their big FU to parents."

"What books a library holds is debatable, but this is just 'nah nah!' childishness," she said.

Later on Tuesday, Herrity tweeted that he had spoken with the school system and they apologized for the sign on display, saying they didn't condone its message and are reviewing policies and procedures.

Lukas also tweeted out an email from Kimberly Greer, principal of Langley High School, apologizing for the sign.

"The sign was incongruent with the beliefs of our school and our school division," said Greer. "Poor judgement was used in its display and for this I take full responsibility."

School districts across the country in recent years have attracted scrutiny from parents and conservative advocacy groups over what they've characterized as curriculums used for the far-left indoctrination of students and objectionable reading materials. Republican state legislators have responded with bills and some districts have removed books deemed inappropriate.

Nearly half the country's state legislatures saw 54 separate bills introduced to restrict teaching and training in schools, according to a 2021 report by Pen America. Those bills targeted discussions of race, racism, gender and American history, banning "prohibited" or "divisive" concepts.

In Texas, Leander Independent School District last year pulled titles included Brave Face and V for Vendetta, reports KUT 90.5.

Newsweek has reached out to Lukas, Herrity and the school district for comment.