Last week, Texan English teacher Anna Waugh told her local paper, the Dallas Voice, about an incident last year in her previous school, Irving High School, which saw the banning of a number of graphic novels before focusing on just one, the Love Is Love anthology published by IDW and DC Comics in the wake of the Pulse nightclub murder.
That, after discovering that students were checking out three graphic novels to every five prose books, she created a 'social justice graphic novel' line of books in the school library – six books – based on the interests of her students. The school principal had suggested seeking funding through the Irving Schools Foundation and attended the grant presentation made to receive the grant.
The foundation provided a grant for the purchase of a number of copies of the graphic novels — March, Speak, Monster, Love is Love, In Real Life and Hidden — chosen as they related to bullying, sexual abuse, child labour, violence, the prison industrial complex and bigotry, but as they were being laminated to extend their library use, the school principal entered the room and told the staff pack up the books because a complaint had reached the superintendent, concerning one of the books, Love Is Love.
Love Is Love is a 144-page graphic novel released in December 2016 by IDW Publishing in collaboration with DC Entertainment with many characters appearing from other publishers and franchises with explicit permission in tribute to the victims of the Orlando nightclub shooting. The comic became a New York Times bestseller and over $165,000 raised by the sales, was donated to the victims and their families. The comic was produced with volunteer work by dozens of artists – and also featured the first official Harry Potter comic. It won the Eisner Award for 2017 for Best Graphic Anthology and featured creators including JK Rowling, Mark Millar, G Willow Wilson, Scott Snyder, Jim Lee, Kaare Andrews, Mark Buckingham, Steve Pugh, Jesus Saiz and many, many more.
Waugh reports that her team leader Revelle requested a return of the novels and observance for the district's policy for challenged materials without response. Only for a committee to decide to ban the book from the school.
She reports one librarian told her that 'the committee took issue with the novel's "extreme homosexuality."' Anyone who has read the book in question would know that it is laughable. The book mentions homosexuality, that is part of its purpose, and portrays gay men and women, but no sex scenes, no nudity, a little hand-holding, some kissing and lots of hugging. This page is as 'extreme' as it gets. And a lot of it is stories about people dealing with death.
Waugh left the school and found new work, but troubled, tried to raise the matter again, with senior staff at the school who she claims denied knowledge of the situation, despite having been in meetings regarding the ban. The senior individual in question resigned but the ban has stayed in effect.