KIRKWOOD, Mo. – A parent in the Kirkwood School District was escorted out from a school board meeting last month after approaching school board members with what she claimed was a graphic image on her cellphone.
Jessica Crandell said she has a daughter in fourth grade who attends Robinson Elementary School. During the public comment portion of the Oct. 25 Kirkwood School Board meeting, Crandell said she is concerned about books brought to her attention in the district’s libraries that “are nothing short of pornography.”
She did not say the titles of the books, however, chief communications officer for Kirkwood School District Steph Deidrick said Crandell was referring to a book called “Gender Queer,” which is not in any of the school district’s libraries nor has it been.
“Books and other instructional materials purchased for school libraries are subject to district policy, specifically Policy IIAC and Regulation IIAC-R1, as well as guidelines outlined in our district’s Library/Media Procedures Manual,” Deidrick said in a statement.
Crandell claims to be an educator for Parkway School District and talked about how educators by law are mandated to report suspected abuse.
“In my school, we have education every year on safe schools – how to protect our children from abuse inside and outside of the school. And we’re also mandated by law that if we see any type of idea that there could be abuse going on, that we’re mandated to report it. And I think that all of you guys are too,” she said as she pointed to the board members.
Fox 2 called the Parkway School District and was told there is no one by that name who works for the district.
A public speaker before Crandell spoke about protecting students from sexual predators. Crandell said she listened to his speech “about how children aren’t being protected from sexual predators … it’s because the books in our children’s library are filled with things like this …”
She then walked away from the podium and approached the board members showing them the image on her cellphone.
Board president Jean Marie Andrews told Crandell that she needed to stay at the podium and to email the image to the school board. Crandell continued showing her cellphone to board members saying, “Oh really because you guys don’t answer your emails, you don’t answer my phone calls.”
Her final words were, “And I’ll be back next time.”
However, in a letter addressed to Crandell from the school district’s director of safety and security, Crandell was banned from attending future in-person board meetings until November of next year.
A statement on behalf of the school district reads, “The Kirkwood School District appreciates and welcomes feedback from patrons. Any time an individual refuses to comply with our standards of conduct and presents a perceived safety concern, we will prioritize the safety of our families, residents, and staff. In this case, the individual will have the opportunity to participate in future meetings virtually.”
Deidrick also told Fox 2 that no other books are currently being challenged.