After a decisive vote Tuesday night, the Brandon School Division is keeping books with LGBTQ2 content in its libraries.
A large crowd cheered after trustees voted six to one to reject a proposal that would have created a committee to review library book content.
The debate stemmed from a motion brought forward earlier this month by a local woman, calling for the division to ban books with such themes, claiming they were “harmful” for children.
More than 30 area residents spoke at the meeting Tuesday, on top of the hundreds of emails and letters the division had already received — the majority of which supported keeping the books in school libraries.
The initial complaint came from Brandon grandmother Lorraine Hackenschmidt, who told trustees her goal was to “protect our children from sexual grooming and pedophilia.”
Hackenschmidt’s campaign to ban books with LGBTQ2 content mirrors similar actions in numerous U.S. states, and was met with backlash from educators, library workers, and LGBTQ2 support and advocacy organizations.
School board chair Linda Ross said at Tuesday’s meeting that every child is entitled to a quality education free from discrimination.
“I completely oppose a request to form a committee of citizens to police the content of our school libraries,” Ross said.
“I speak in favour of the protection of human rights for everyone, including the protected categories of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.
“It’s mandatory that our policies and practices be inclusive.”
Brandon resident Jason Foster was one of those speaking against a ban, and said books and media reflecting diverse identities are essential.
“I couldn’t have learned to love myself without the education to feel like it is OK to feel like I do,” Foster said.