GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A lawsuit filed against Rockford Public Schools over 14 library books described as “sexually explicit” has been dismissed by a Kent County judge.
The lawsuit was filed against the school district in late August by a group called “Parents and Taxpayers Against Pornography in Rockford Public Schools.”
Kent County Circuit Court Judge George Quist heard arguments in the case last week.
In a 15-page ruling issued Wednesday, Quist tossed the lawsuit.
“Although the court shares Plaintiffs’ concerns about the sexually explicit nature of some texts and illustrations in the books at issue, the Court is compelled by the material facts and applicable law to dismiss Plaintiffs’ complaint,” Quist wrote.
One book targeted in the lawsuit was “Gender Queer,” a graphic memoir by Maia Kobabe that was the most “challenged” book of 2022, according to the American Library Association.
The lawsuit was filed by unnamed private citizens and past Rockford Public Schools students listed as John and Jane Doe. They wanted to halt dissemination of “sexually explicit materials that they consider to be pornographic and harmful to minors through the schools.”
Attorney Helen Brinkman, who represented those seeking to have the books removed, argued that it was not a First Amendment issue.
“The First Amendment has never allowed children access to this type of material,” she argued in court last week. “It is a felony in the state of Michigan to provide this material to minors.”
Superintendent Steve Matthews said the books are not part of the district’s curriculum.
The school district also said parents can have any book blocked from being checked out by their students, but it hasn’t received any formal challenges about these books.