Ban Pornography in Maine Schools

Do the parents in Maine know that their children are being exposed to pornography in school? Most do not. This must change.

Editor’s Note – This essay was originally published at Minding the Campus on November 1, 2022.

Maine Governor Janet Mills’s administration recommends that elementary schools carry pornographic books such as Gender Queer, a graphic novel (what we used to call comic books) depicting, among other vivid illustrations, a boy with his penis in another boy’s mouth. The text is as explicit as the pictures. Statements like, “I’m gonna give you the blow job of your life,” and “I want you inside me,” convey the tone and flavor of this volume.

Another book called This Book is Gay is a how-to manual targeted at young teenagers. It teaches students how to perform oral and anal sex with their same-sex classmates, and delves into exotic practices including the use of scat. If you are like me and are unfamiliar with “scat,” I urge you to leave it at that. It makes me ill just to think about it.

Pornography in the schools has become an issue in the Maine governor’s race, as it has elsewhere. Mills, a Democrat, is running against former Republican governor Paul LePage, a straight-talking, crusty Mainer who had a childhood right out of a Charles Dickens novel.

Of the handful of campaigns I support, the Maine governor’s race is the dearest to my heart. Although I am a resident of New York, I have long, deep ties to Maine. I have been coming to Maine for more than sixty years. My daughter lives there. If I have grandchildren, which I very much hope, I dread the idea that they will be exposed to pornography in school.

Through a PAC, I have financed a campaign to call attention to pornography in the schools in Maine. The campaign is aimed at parents and grandparents. Giving explicit pornographic material to kids in schools will hasten the erosion of the family, which is our foundational institution. It is families that produce citizens with the self-restraint necessary for a self-governing Republic.

Pornography for children paves the way for sex between children and, ultimately, for pedophilia. If this sounds extreme, keep in mind that just a few years ago, we dismissed the idea that grown men would demand to use women’s changing rooms on the basis of a self-determined “sense” that they are “really” women. Yet now this is the norm around the country, and young girls who express discomfort with showering next to adult men are denounced as bigots.

The PAC I am funding is advertising on Facebook and other social media platforms, as well as on television. We try to feature actual images from Gender Queer. After all, seeing is believing. But television stations will not carry the images, even if the most explicit parts are blurred out. And I can’t blame the stations—even when blurred, the images are pornographic and not appropriate for public consumption. It is depressingly ironic that pictures too obscene to be shown to adults on television can be shown to 10-year-old kids in schools.

Governor Mills says that local school boards should decide for themselves whether their schools carry books like Gender Queer. She claims she is neutral. This is not true. Gender Queer is recommended on the Maine education web site. See for yourself. More damning still, the not-for-profit firm Maine pays to distribute these pornographic books, Out Maine, recently announced it will try to have them in all Maine school libraries by the end of 2024.

The real problem, however, is not that Mills lies about being neutral; it is that she thinks neutrality is the right standard. It most decidedly isn’t. Children’s minds are unformed and pliable, so we do not, for example, allow schools to carry books arguing that blacks or Jews are inferior. Such ideas undermine our country’s foundational premise that all people are created equal.

For a like reason, we must ban pornographic books in schools. The blessings of liberty come when liberty is well-instructed and well-directed. If we don’t take responsibility for directing American freedom to its proper ends, we will be responsible for turning our children and grandchildren into something less than fully human.

Pro-porn and other queer activists claim that the only reason most of us think pornography for children is bad is that we have been socialized to think it is bad. We just need to get over it. There will be other occasions to rebut this empty claim. For now, it is necessary that Maine parents know their children are being exposed to pornography in school. At present, most do not. And that is because the schools and the education establishment don’t want them to know.

The case of Terry McAuliffe in Virginia, however, is a promising sign that parents are demanding to know. McAuliffe told Virginians in the recent gubernatorial race that things like critical race theory (CRT) should be left to the experts. Once parents realized that McAuliffe thought they were supposed to keep their hands off their children’s education, they gave him the heave-ho.

CRT is vague and not always easy to grasp. But there is nothing vague about a boy with his penis in another boy’s mouth. Janet Mills would also get the shove were Maine parents to find out she was peddling this sort of thing. That’s my goal, to make sure that parents do find out. I know of no better use for my money.