BALLSTON SPA, NY (WRGB) — The American Library Association is out with their list of 'Most Challenged Books,' and it turns out the top title on that list was the hot topic at a recent local school board meeting.
The author of the graphic novel Gender Queer says it documents their journey of coming out as nonbinary and asexual.
For the second year in a row, it's the most challenged book in the country, and it took center stage at last week's board meeting for the Ballston Spa Central School District.
The American Library Association says the controversy centers around LGBTQIA+ content, claimed to be sexually explicit.
Last year, the New York State Education Department (NYSED) promoted the book, which contains images depicting sex acts, on one of its official social media accounts.
NYSED told our partners at The National Desk it was unaware of the graphic content, then removed the post.
The book is currently in the Ballston Spa High School library. Every school board member and the superintendent read it. Then last week, they took up a resolution to on their exhaustive "review" of it before voting to keep it in the high school library.
Minutes before that there was passionate public comment from many parents and members of the community. Here are just some of the comments:
"You can easily find this book on Amazon. If you have Kindle Unlimited it's free, you can gain access to it. And one of the suggestions in there is the reading level is 18 and up. So I sort of question how that is high school age, I know everybody in high school is not 18 and over," said one man.
Another man had a different view, saying "The subject matter of this book literally could save the life of a gender nonconforming teenager - who might feel a sense of comfort knowing that they are not alone."
"This is about the graphic images that are depicted in the book. Do you want to give it to your 14, 15-year-old? I don't think so," one man told the board.
"This board has done its job, that this book is educational. It belongs in our library and it belongs in our community," said one woman.
Crisis in the Classroom is a weekly segment in which CBS 6 investigates issues faced by educators, students, and families. Send any tips to our team by emailing or by calling (518) 288-6034.