Glastonbury CT: Council debates over Sexual content in library books

June 13, 2023 – ALIGNUSAPP / Kyle Reyes

“Warning – extremely disturbing! Farmer / cop reveals what Democrats are exposing material in books” He pulled no punches and exposed the school and the town council for targeting moms who were looking to protect innocent kids.  #school #parents #family #kids #Revealed #graphic#exposed #library

Council debates about Books in Conneticut library – Is it directly related to recent appointment of new librarian? (see article below)

Glastonbury Town Council Regular Meeting Minutes of June 13, 2023 Recording Secretary – NY Minutes Page 11 of 16

(d) Appointment of Heather Simon to the Welles Turner Library Board (R-2025).

Motion by: Ms. Carroll Seconded by: Mr. Cavanaugh Discussion:

Mr. Cavanna noted that he does not know Ms. Simon well and remarked that he believes in a fair shake. He explained that Ms. Simon was concerned about some of the books in the school library and has provided pictures and passages of those books. Mr. Cavanna explained that Ms. Simon took a stand and voiced her opinion at the school board meeting and added that it was done respectfully and done in the way the law dictates. He noted that he has a problem with Ms. Simon not being able to volunteer her time because she expressed concern.

Mr. Cavanna stated that he asked Ms. Simon if she would take books out of the public library and was told absolutely not. Mr. Cavanna noted that he looked into the books and agreed that the books are not appropriate for children aged 12 and 13. Mr. Cavanna put up the images from the books Ms. Simon identified as concerning. Mr. Cavanna stated that a person should not be stopped from volunteering before speaking to them and reiterated that she should get a fair shake.

Ms. Carroll explained that, as a Council, they rely on the community at large to serve on their boards and commissions. She noted that she is grateful for the work they do. Ms. Carroll explained that appointees support the mission and work of the body they are appointed to. Ms. Carroll read out the mission statement of the Welles Turner Library and noted that Ms. Simon has made comments in public meetings, social media and written comments in The Citizen that are antithetical to the mission of Welles Turner Library. She stated that she will not vote in support.

Ms. LaChance noted that appointments are not a rubberstamping process. She stated that she has heard from several constituents voicing their opposition to this appointment. Ms. LaChance noted that the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. She explained that Ms. Simon worked to remove a reading app from school iPads that would essentially take away 40,000 books from students. Ms. LaChance stated that Ms. Simon is opposed to 2 booksAn ABC of Equality and Jack (Not Jackie). Ms. LaChance reiterated that Ms. Simon’s opposition toward two books would take away 40,000 books from kids. Ms. LaChance noted that children under 18 must have parental permission to get a library card. She explained that not everyone has the luxury to buy books and explained that, growing up, the only place she was able to get books was from the library. Ms. LaChance stated that she will not vote in support.

Mr. Cavanna read out sexually explicit excerpts from a book identified as concerning by Ms. Simon. Ms. Carroll explained that it is important to clarify that these are not classroom books. She noted that these are high school books and added that parents are allowed to give the library a list of books their child cannot take out. Ms. Carroll noted these books are not handed out to young children and added that the argument made is incorrect and added that she agrees with Ms. LaChance’s point on past behavior as an indicator of future behavior.

Mr. Cavanaugh noted that he does not know Ms. Simon and was told by the Chairman that there might be an issue with her appointment. Mr. Cavanaugh noted that the word “rubberstamped” was used earlier by another member and explained that, for the most part, these are rubberstamped. He explained that each party submits a form to the Town Manager’s office, and unless there is a blatant conflict of interest, an example being a developer joining the TPZ, it is handled before anything is in print. Mr. Cavanaugh explained that the current Chairman of the Library Board is a democrat who called him about the 2 republican openings. Mr. Cavanaugh noted that it is not easy finding people willing to serve in local government and deal with issues like tonight. He remarked that the comment about past behavior being a predicate for future behavior is unbelievable and added that it has come to the point of turning down ordinary citizens that want to serve the community. Mr. Cavanaugh remarked that the democrats will not always be in the majority and added that turnabout will be fair play.

Glastonbury Town Council Regular Meeting Minutes of June 13, 2023 Recording Secretary – NY Minutes Page 13 of 16

Mr. McChesney remarked that he does not appreciate veiled threats and noted that he recognizes that there will be other parties in power. He also noted that he recognizes that a party has the right to put in their choice. Mr. McChesney explained that they have a fiduciary duty to carry out the values and interests of the Council. He explained that the recently hired fire marshal was not a unanimous vote. Mr. McChesney stated that he does not know Ms. Simon. He noted that he has two children and urges anyone concerned with this matter to foster a relationship with their children. He explained that his approach is to be open and to be able to communicate and answer questions. Mr. McChesney remarked that he does not know why Ms. Simon is not here tonight and pointed out that there is a public comment session and added that they only heard from the Chairman of the party. He explained that his concern is that someone who strenuously objected to school books might object to something in library. Mr. McChesney remarked that he has been on the fence and added that he is concerned about setting precedent. He explained that there is a concern about what this individual is going to do and added that she may be opposed to ideas expressed in books and start challenging things in the public library. Mr. McChensey noted that there are 2 republican openings and there will still be 2 republican openings. He remarked that there are concerns and explained that they have an obligation to determine who is appropriate on committees. Mr. McChesney remarked that he has no judgment and added that he does not know Ms. Simon. He noted that he only knows what has been shared and stated that he is likely to vote not to approve the nomination.

Mr. Osgood remarked that Mr. Cavanaugh made a great point, that it is difficult to get people to contribute their time and energy. Mr. Osgood noted that he will make a motion to table the vote to give Ms. Simon the opportunity to speak to the Council.

Motion by: Mr. Osgood Seconded by: Mr. McChesney Table the vote to give Ms. Simon the opportunity to speak to the Council.

Result: Motion failed (3-5; Mr. Cavanaugh, Chairman Gullotta, Ms. Carroll, Ms. LaChance, Ms. Wang voting No)

The Chairman directed the Council to the main motion.

Result: Motion failed (3-5; Mr. McChesney, Chairman Gullotta, Ms. Carroll, Ms. LaChance, Ms. Wang voting No)

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video source : ALIGNUSAPP

Glastonbury Town Council rejects library appointment over fears of book banning

June 22, 2023 – Eric Bedner / CT Insider

GLASTONBURY — The Town Council has rejected a Republican nominee to serve on the Board of Directors of the Welles-Turner Memorial Library due to her previous opposition to certain books in school libraries in town.

Heather Simon was rejected to serve on the board in a 5-3 party line vote last week despite her endorsement by the Republican Town Committee, as Democratic council members feared she would attempt to ban certain books from the public library.

Republican Councilman John Cavanna said that he didn’t know Simon well before last week, but was told the day before the Town Council meeting that her appointment would likely be rejected due to her being outspoken at Board of Education meetings regarding books in Glastonbury school libraries.

“After reading some of the things that she gave me that she was concerned about, I would be concerned if it was my child that was reading something like that,” Cavanna said. “Right, wrong, or indifferent, Heather Simon took a stand for what she believed in.”

Attempts to remove books from public libraries have increased exponentially in recent years, including in Connecticut.

Cavanna said that he asked Simon specifically whether she would seek to ban books from the public library.

“She said, ‘absolutely not,'” he said.

However, Cavanna said that he would prefer certain books not be available to young people, and read an excerpt from a book that provides a graphic description of oral sex and drawings.

“I wouldn’t put a Hustlers or Penthouse in my town’s library, and I certainly wouldn’t put something like this,” he said.

Democratic Majority Leader Deborah Carroll noted that the book from which Cavanna was reading was not a classroom book, but is available in the high school library. She added that parents are able to give the school a list of books that their children cannot check out.

Council members from both sides of the aisle agreed that filling vacant positions on boards and commissions throughout town is often difficult as the roles rely on volunteers.

Carroll cited the library’s mission statement, which aims to provide materials to “inform, educate, and culturally enrich the community,” adding that Simon’s previous objections to certain books when speaking before the Board of Education “is antithetical to the stated mission of the Welles-Turner Memorial Library.”

“The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior,” Carroll said.

She noted that children younger than 18 must have their parents’ permission to get a library card, which provides an added level of supervision when checking out books from the public library.

Carroll also said that less-wealthy families have a limited access to books compared to wealthier families and rely on their local libraries for reading material.

Council members attempted to postpone the vote in order to allow Simon another chance to speak, but it was rejected after a 5-3 bipartisan vote, with Minority Leader Kurt Cavanaugh joining four Democrats in opposition.

Simon said that she didn’t attend the meeting because these kinds of appointments are typically not controversial and are easily approved. She added that she offered to meet with any council members who had questions or concerns.

Simon said that she has never sent a request to remove a questionable book nor to remove an iPad reading application as was suggested during the Town Council meeting, claiming that “two Town Council members chose to defame me with lies and dramatics.”

As a resident, mother, writer, and someone with a history working with children’s behavior and mental health, “I am overqualified for the appointment,” she said.

“Due to the shortsightedness of a few elected officials, the town missed out, not just on my services, but the services of so many other parents who share my views,” Simon said. “A healthy, truly inclusive community is one where differences in perspective and opinion are valued rather than slandered and banned.”

She said that last week’s meeting was “a perfect example as to why parents are afraid to speak up.”

While Simon did not attend the meeting, Glastonbury Republican Town Committee Chairman Nick Koras did.

Having become aware of the likelihood of Simon’s rejection, Koras said that “it sounds like the importation of cancel culture to Glastonbury.”

“If the opinions are not liked, they are canceled,” he said.

Koras said that rejecting Simon sets a bad precedent, adding that her concerns stem from books that contain “pornographic content” that could be illegal to provide to minors.

Councilwoman Mary LaChance noted that appointments of these kinds are nearly always approved unanimously, but “it’s not a rubber stamp,” and Simon’s appointment faced opposition from several constituents, LaChance said.

Cavanaugh said that “for the most part, these are rubber stamps … unless there is a blatant conflict of interests.”

“It’s just unbelievable that this has come to the point where now we’re turning down ordinary citizens that want to serve their community,” he said before levying a threat to majority party members if they lose power. “The Democrats will not always be in the majority, and turnabout will be fair play.”

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