The Flagler County Sheriffs’ Office is investigating whether or not obscenity laws might have been violated after social media posts brought a book to the attention of the Flagler County School Board. The book is entitled “All Boys Aren’t Blue: A Memoir Manifesto” and tells the story of a young adult who is black and queer.
Some portions of the book contain highly explicit depictions of masturbation, oral and anal sex, and sexual assault. The book was available in three Flagler County school libraries.
“At this point, we are not conducting a criminal investigation until we determine that the allegations meet the threshold of Florida law for it to be a criminal complaint,” Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly said. “Anybody can file a criminal complaint. That doesn’t make it a crime until the elements required under Florida law are met and that’s what we’re reviewing.”
The original criminal complaint was filed by a school board member, Jill Woolbright, who also said she felt she did have access to the district’s legal counsel to ask for advice.
“I felt, well I can’t get any answers and this is a crime,” Woolbright said. “I have a crime to report. So that’s the step I took.”
The controversy regarding the book gathered high-profile voices, with the author of the book and Gabrielle Union supporting the book’s inclusion in the school library.
“Sent a video in for the school board meeting tonight in Flaggard County. Also done 4 interviews already,” the book’s author, George Johnson, said. “If you finna ban All Boys Aren’t Blue and criminalize it, you won’t do it without me saying my side of it.”
Sent a video in for the school board meeting tonight in Flaggard County. Also done 4 interviews already.
If you finna ban All Boys Aren’t Blue and criminalize it, you won’t do it without me saying my side of it. Purrrrrr. #AllBooksArentBanned
— George M Johnson (@IamGMJohnson) November 16, 2021
Johnson also spoke at the Flagler County School Board meeting this week.
“There is no reason for us to pretend that the world is not going to expose our youth and our teens to these very heavy subjects and heavy topics in my book,” Johnson said. “Realistically, they are already experiencing these things and my book is teaching them how to deal with these things.”
The issue brings to light more examples of the relevancy of Florida’s Parental Bill of Rights, which was signed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis earlier this year. Many parents did not feel it was right for the book to be in the library and their children could have been exposed to it without the parents’ knowledge.
“The book violates the law,” one parent said. “It doesn’t belong there and the people responsible for putting it here should at least be reprimanded and probably arrested.”
“This graphic content is in no way therapeutic for the victims, for other victims that may read it,” said another parent, who was against the distribution of the book.
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Grant Holcomb is a reporter at The Florida Capital Star and The Star News Network. Follow Grant on Twitter and direct message tips.
Photo “The Flagler County Sheriffs’ Office” by Flagler County Sheriffs’ Office.