JAY — The directors of Regional School Unit 73 voted Thursday night to keep two controversial books on sexuality and gender identity, and racism in the Spruce Mountain High School library in Jay.

Their decisions followed appeals filed by residents after a review committee recommended that directors allow “Gender Queer: A Memoir” and “White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism” to stay.

On Thursday, directors voted 8-4 to allow “Gender Queer” to stay in the library.

Voting to accept were Chantelle Woodcock and Elaine Fitzgerald, both of Jay; Andrew Sylvester and Tasha Perkins, both of Livermore; and Phoebe Pike, D. Robin Beck, Lenia Coates and student representative Ava Coates, all of Livermore Falls.

Opposed were Chairperson Robert Staples and Jodi Cordes, both Jay, Holly Morris of Livermore; and Patrick Milligan of Livermore Falls. Director Joel Pike of Jay was absent.

The vote on “White Fragility” was 11-1. Morris was opposed.


The 2019 publication, “Gender Queer: A Memoir,” written and illustrated by Maia Kobabe, recounts Kobabe’s journey from adolescence to adulthood and the author’s exploration of gender identity and sexuality, according to multiple online sources.

“White Fragility” is an international bestseller written by Robin DeAngelo published in 2018. According to Amazon, she coined the term ‘white fragility’ in 2011 to describe “the ways in which ordinary white people react when it is pointed out to them that they have done or said something that has – unintentionally – caused racial offense or hurt.”

Residents opposed to having the books in the library have expressed their strong opinions at school board meeting the past few months.

In September, Superintendent Scott Albert told directors formal complaints had been filed, prompting him to follow the district’s policy and appointing a five-member committee to review the books.

The board announced Oct. 27 that the appeals would be taken up at Thursday’s meeting.

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