PLATTSMOUTH, Neb. (AP) — Voters have decided to remove a member of a small-town Nebraska school from office after she tried to have dozens of books removed from school libraries.
More than 1,600 Plattsmouth voters supported the recall of Terri Cunningham-Swanson in an all-mail election this week. The Omaha World-Herald reported that about 1,000 people voted to keep her on the board she joined a year ago.
Cunningham-Swanson led an effort to remove approximately 50 books from school libraries due to concerns about the sexual content and adult themes they contained. Some students protested and a librarian resigned after books were removed from library shelves while they were being reviewed.
Ultimately, only one book — Ellen Hopkins’ “Triangles,” which focuses on three women, including one whose marriage collapses after having extramarital sex — was pulled from the shelves. Eleven other books have been placed in a restricted section in which students need parental permission to view them. More than 30 other books were kept on the shelves of general libraries.
When criticism of the book was discussed at a fall meeting, other board members pointed out that the challenged books were rarely viewed in the Plattsmouth district, located about 20 miles south of Omaha.
A judge recently key parts blocked of an Iowa law that prohibits public school libraries and classrooms from having virtually any book depicting sexual activity. Similar efforts to pass legislation in the United States have generally been supported by Republican lawmakers.
Jayden Speed, who led the Cunningham-Swanson recall campaign, said the recall results were exciting.
“This is a grassroots campaign, and it appears that Plattsmouth voters have rejected the book ban and the extremism pushed by Terri and people like her.”
But Cunningham-Swanson had said voters shouldn’t have been surprised by her efforts, because she had expressed her concerns before she was elected. The slogan on its website opposing the recall urged residents to vote “no to obscenity in our schools, no to the sexualization of students, no to woke ideologues, no to political bullies, and no to the recall.”
“The people who voted for me should have been very well informed about who I was and what I was going to do,” she said in a video posted on her website.
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