A Cumberland, Maine, Town Council meeting became heated Tuesday evening when a parent confronted the Councilors with sexually explicit images from the book “Gender Queer” which is in the town’s school libraries.
The parent, Scott Jordan of Cumberland, previously brought the blown-up images of the book’s minor characters performing oral sex with a strap-on dildo to a Maine School Administrative District #51 (MSAD #51) Board meeting last week.
Several other parents attended and spoke at the Sept. 18 School Board meeting, most of whom spoke out against the book — while two other parents supported the book being in the libraries and one advocated for the use of police force to remove certain people from the public meeting.
As Jordan lifted up the images from “Gender Queer” for the Town Council to see, one Councilor, Robert Vail, yelled at Jordan to put them down because they were too “inappropriate” for the public Town Council meeting.
“Mr. Jordan — do not — put that right down! Put that right down! That is inappropriate material for a forum,” Vail demanded as Jordan repeated that “this is in our schools,” while holding up the images.
“Mr. Jordan — and you are now sharing it publicly with everyone that has an internet connection,” Chair Mark Segrist told Jordan.
“This is a forum that is open to all people of all age groups — that is inappropriate material to bring to this forum,” Vail said. “And if you have a problem with that, I’ll ask you to leave.”
Vail then attempted to refuse to give Jordan his public time back after interrupting him.
JORDAN: Can I have my time back? You just took my —
VAIL: No. No you can’t…[crosstalk]…do you understand what I just said?
The Council Chair Mark Segrist then paused the time during Vail’s interruption and proceeded to let Jordan speak — despite Vail’s attempt to prevent him from doing so.
Tuesday evening’s Town Council meeting is not the first time Vail has rebuked Jordan for speaking on the issue of pornographic books.
Robert Vail attended the July MSAD #51 Board meeting which was adjourned after Jordan tried to raise his concerns about the sexually explicit books being in the school libraries.
At the July meeting, Vail was the first to speak during the public comment portion, and given over six minutes — Jordan spoke directly after and was cut off after three minutes, and was then interrupted by Vail from the audience of the meeting telling him he was out of order for asking the School Board to respond to his concerns.
Following the meeting, Jordan and other parents speaking with the Superintendent in the Greely High School parking lot had the police called on them by a member of the school board.
Jordan brought the images to the Town Council meeting because his attempts to have the School Board remove the book from the libraries, or to have the Town Manager or Police Chief get involved have been unsuccessful.
“You’re ok with this? And you’re telling me not to show it to our community — but our school says it’s okay to have for our kids?” Jordan asked the Town Council.
“It’s two children engaging in oral sex with a strap-on dildo, and you’re okay with that — but you don’t want me to tell the community about it?” he asked. “It’s inappropriate to tell our Town Council about it?”