Story at a glance
- A Virginia school board member who last year called for the burning of “sexually explicit” books was named its chair this week.
- Kirk Twigg at a November meeting of the Spotsylvania County School Board said there is some “bad, evil-related material” on school library shelves.
- Twigg immediately after taking his post as school board chair on Monday fired school superintendent Scott Baker.
A school board meeting in Virginia descended into chaos this week following a vote to name a district member who has previously called for the burning of “sexually explicit” books in school libraries as its new chair.
Livingston, Va., district member Kirk Twigg on Monday became the Spotsylvania County School Board’s newest chair, drawing criticism from some of his fellow board members, as well as the outgoing chair, Dawn Shelley.
“He has spoken about confidential [human resources] matters in open session. He is constantly using his AOL account to send and read emails throughout school board meetings. He wants to burn books,” Shelley said following Twigg’s appointment, NBC-affiliate WRC-TV reported.
Twigg at a board meeting in November said he wanted to “see the books before we burn them so we can identify within our community that we are eradicating this bad stuff.”
“There are some bad, evil-related material that we have to be careful of and look at,” he said at the time.
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Twigg’s crusade against books with “sexually explicit” material has not been a solo venture.
Another board member, Rabih Abuismail, during the same meeting said: “I think we should throw those books in a fire.”
“I guess we live in a world now that our public schools would rather have kids read about gay pornography than Christ.” he said.
The book that prompted the exchange, Adam Rapp’s “33 Snowfish,” details the plight of homeless teens running from pasts that include sexual abuse, prostitution and drug addiction. The American Library Association in 2004 named it one of the “Best Books for Young Adults.”
Twigg’s views are also shared by Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R), who on the campaign trail last year criticized his opponent, former Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D), for vetoing a bill during his tenure that would have allowed parents to opt their children out of reading assignments they found objectionable.
Twigg on Monday after taking his post fired school superintendent Scott Baker, who had already announced he would be retiring at the end of the school year.
“Baker is no longer with us, he is terminated this evening,” Twigg said, according to the Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. “He is terminated without cause.”
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