AUSTIN, Texas — Some Leander Independent School District parents are drawing attention to a book they say doesn’t belong in campus libraries. The Leander Police Department says they’ve also been contacted about the book’s content and are investigating.
The book is Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison. At a September 9 school board meeting a parent described the content as depraved and likened some passages to pedophilia. Leander ISD says the book is not taught in any classroom and is only available to some students through the campus library.
“Who normalizes sex acts between fourth graders? Pedophiles,” said Brandi Burkman during the public comment portion of the school board meeting Thursday. During her allotted three minutes to address the board, Burkman read several passages from Lawn Boy, which she says her son checked out from the Leander High School library. In the passages a young adult reflects on sexual encounters he had with another boy when the two were in fourth grade.
“In addition, I will share with you the exceptional quality of vocabulary. I stopped counting on page 66 after 44 f***s and 41 s***s,” Burkman went on to say.
CBS Austin reached out to Burkman by phone Monday about her concerns. Burkman said she was at the police department and unavailable for an interview.
Leander Police said two parents filed reports about obscenities in the book and the department is investigating. They added the results of their investigation will be turned over to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) or a prosecutor. While CBS Austin was outside of the police department Monday a third community member said they were also filing a complaint about the book but they declined to go on camera.
CBS Austin reached out to Leander ISD about the book. In a statement LISD said:
The book “Lawn Boy” by Jonathan Evison is not a part of our district curriculum. We have not received any formally filed complaints through the process outlined in the Board policy.
The district said the book may be available to some junior and senior English students through campus libraries. They added Leander High School staff has reached out to Burkman –who often addresses the school board—about how to file an official complaint but they say so far, a complaint or request for the district to review the book has not been filed.
CBS Austin also asked Leander ISD how books are selected for libraries. The district said books are selected according to several criteria that are in alignment with board policy and library services. They added any parent can request for any book to be reviewed by contacting the district.