A Prince William County supervisor is angry over a children’s book he read at Thurgood Marshall Elementary School last week.
During the morning announcements last week, the school librarian read “Prince & Knight.”
The story is about a prince who is about to take the throne, but first needs a partner. He meets and falls in love with a knight as they fight a dragon. The men get married at the end.
In a Facebook post, Supervisor Yesli Vega, R-Coles, said she was “assisting a resident of Prince William and dealing privately with local government officials regarding the availability of books for our children depicting graphic sex acts inappropriate for young minds”.
The post includes an email from a parent and photos from the book, but it’s unclear if Vega is specifically referring to “Prince & Knight” when she said “graphic sex acts.” The book does not include any sexual acts and the men do not share a kiss in the book.
The only intimacy in the book is an image of the prince resting his head in the knight’s lap as they sit in front of a fountain, another of the two holding hands and, at the end, they hold hands and each other look at their wedding day.
Vega’s chief of staff said she was unavailable for an interview this week. Instead, he provided a statement in which she said reading the book forced an “alternative sexual romance” on children.
Vega said public schools “don’t exist for left-leaning activists to prepare students for a sexual preference.”
In his message, Vega, who is running for Congress in the 7th District, said students at the school were “forced to watch and listen to a gay romance read by the school librarian.”
“Student test scores at Prince William County schools have plummeted through the ground, but these are the kinds of things PWCS chooses to focus its time and your children’s time on,” Vega’s post reads. . “The need for parent and student choice in education has never been more necessary than it is today. The taxpayer dollars you pay for the education of your children and grandchildren must be allowed to follow them to the school of your choice – not to the indoctrination centers that professional liberal activists have turned into government-run schools.
Vega said parents should have been able to opt out if they had religious or “cultural” concerns about the book.
“These are conversations that should be happening at home with parents,” she said. “Parents in the Commonwealth of Virginia told us loud and clear last fall that they deserve and demand a say in their children’s education and what they are taught.”
Marshall’s principal, Kristin Bock, in an email to parents, said the school is focused on providing “an inclusive and welcoming environment for all students.”
She said the book was read in recognition of June as LGBTQ+ Pride Month. Bock said it was “an age-appropriate book that celebrates the bravery of a knight and a prince who fight a dragon, marry, and are celebrated with inclusion in their community.”
Bock’s email says that over the weekend “some people in our school community expressed concern about this book.” Under county regulations, the books can be challenged and reviewed.
“While individuals have the right to disagree with material, intimidation of Marshall staff and insinuated threats against them will not be tolerated,” Bock’s email reads. “Although we have no reason to believe that there is currently a threat to our school, we will continue to work with PWCS Risk Management and with law enforcement and report these concerns as necessary.”
The school declined to comment further.