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Sexually Explicit Books Are Available in NH Middle Schools

New Hampshire middle schoolers have free access to books containing pornographic images of sex acts through their school libraries and through school-hosted library apps, a NHJournal investigation has found.

Books like “Gender Queer,” “This Book is Gay,” and “Flamer,” all of which contain explicit, graphic content, can be found in public middle school libraries across the state. They can also be accessed through school district websites that host apps like Sora, where students can get e-books from multiple sources.

While media coverage of the conversation about parental rights and school education content has focused on claims of censorship or alleged anti-gay sentiment, there has been relatively little coverage of the actual content in question. One reason, as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) recently demonstrated, is that the books are so graphic, their images can’t be broadcast on television or published in a community newspaper.

A DeSantis press conference on his state’s new law included a video with images from the books in question. The school library books depict “explicit language or pictures depicting male and female genitalia, different sexual acts and, in one case, instruction on masturbation.” Television stations had to cut away from the press conference during that video.

An edited version of art from the book Gender Queer

NH Journal was able to find many of the same books through school district library websites, including “This Book is Gay,” which contains instructions on how to perform gay sex.

Hanover SAU 70, where many of the books can be found, did not respond to a request for comment. 

State Rep. Glenn Cordelli (R-Tuftonboro) is sponsoring a bill to require school boards to adopt complaint policies that would allow parents to file objections to specific books. Currently, such policies are voluntary in New Hampshire.

Cordelli’s attempt to give parents the power to keep pornographic books out of their local school libraries is already getting pushback from teachers unions. Deb Howes, president of the New Hampshire chapter of the American Federation of Teachers, opposes the bill.

“What we don’t want is for one parent who objects to a book in the library or in the classroom to be able to decide for all children in that school what your child is able to read,” Howes told the New Hampshire Bulletin.

New Hampshire’s Department of Education is already fielding complaints about many of these books and said the matter can be taken to court. New Hampshire has had RSA 571-B Exposing Minors to Harmful Materials and RSA 650 Obscene Matter for decades. The laws allow either the Attorney General’s Office or any county attorney’s office to pursue obscenity cases in court. It is not known if any such cases are being brought before a judge.

A book with instructions on how to have gay sex is available to Hanover middle schoolers through the public library.

Progressives who want to control public school curricula and limit the influence of parents use the phrase “book ban” to paint conservatives as anti-literate haters who want to stamp out learning, says Shannon McGinley, executive director at Cornerstone Action of New Hampshire.

The issue is not literature, McGinley said. It’s porn.

“The problem with books like “Genderqueer” isn’t that they’re offensive. It’s that these books are graphic, illustrated pornography,” McGinley said. She wants to see New Hampshire Republicans focus on the content of these books, which are being accessed by children as young as 10 or 11.

“Any time Republicans talk in general terms about ‘obscene’ books, they help Democrats promote the fantasy that people are going after Huckleberry Finn and Harry Potter.

“Use the word ‘pornography,’” she said.

Granite Staters Choose Virtue, Named Least ‘Sinful’ State in New England

Granite State Christians gearing up for the penitential season of Lent beginning Wednesday can rest assured that New Hampshire is full of Yankee saintliness, according to a new study. 

WalletHub reports New Hampshire is the least sinful state in New England and the third least sinful state in the country.

Maybe it’s something in the water.

Comparing data points like rates of violent crime, theft, addiction, gambling, and porn use across all 50 states and the District of Columbia, WalletHub ranked New Hampshire the third most virtuous place in the country.

Compared to the rest of the U.S., Granite Staters take “thou shalt not steal” seriously — with a low crime rate, including thefts and property crime. When it comes to “thou shalt not kill,” New Hampshire consistently has one of the lowest murder rates in the nation.

And if idle hands are the devil’s playground, New Hampshire residents ward off evil by keeping active, with one of the highest rates of residents who get regular exercise. Speaking of idle hands, Granite Staters also spend less time on pornographic websites than residents of most other states.

The report also ranks states using the metric of the Seven Deadly Sins, first enumerated by Pope Gregory I in the 6th century.

New Hampshire has the least amount of anger and hatefulness and is the third least lazy state. Granite Staters rank low on the jealousy and excessive vice rankings as well and manage to keep vanity and lust under control as well, according to the WalletHub study.

However, Granite Staters might want to consider giving up behaviors that lead to avarice for lent, as New Hampshire ranks in the top 20 for most amount greed.

Ash Wednesday begins the 40-day season of Lent, during which Christians undergo a season of sacrifice to prepare for Easter. Tara Bishop, communications director for the Diocese of Manchester, said despite apparent virtue found among New Hampshire’s good people, everyone is encouraged to take a Lenten journey of self-sacrifice.

“As we’re beginning Lent, we encourage everyone to dive into its opportunities for self-reflection, penitence, prayer, and almsgiving – a great time to make a change for the better,” Bishop said.

Ironically, New Hampshire is also one of the most secular states in the union. According to World Population Review, just 33 percent of the state’s adults are religious, tied with Vermont for the lowest rate in America.

Regardless of one’s faith, vice and virtue have a financial cost, according to WalletHub’s study.

“The cost of state sins is something we have to share as a nation, though. Gambling alone costs the U.S. about $5 billion per year. That’s nothing compared to the amount of money we lose from smoking, though – over $300 billion per year. Harmful behavior on the individual level can add up to staggering economic costs on a national scale,” the report states.

Micah Johnson, an assistant professor at the University of South Florida’s Department of Mental Health Law and Policy, College of Community and Behavioral Sciences, said every state has a little bit of heaven and hell. Promoting virtue is something that communities can achieve, he said.

“I think the sinfulness of a city is rooted in those macro-level factors, like employment, law, and culture,” Johnson said. “I think the most saintly states are the ones that do the absolute best that they can to improve health and wellness in the context of its challenges and resources.”

He said targeting investment in things like additional prevention and recovery programs, outdoor space for recreation, and access to healthcare can lead to a saintlier population.

Wyoming and Idaho outrank New Hampshire when it comes to walking in the light, according to WalletHub. It may be no surprise that Nevada is considered the most sinful state, with California, Louisiana, Florida, and Pennsylvania rounding out the top five.