Ninth graders in a Kansas City-area school district have been subjected to a book with bawdy anti-religious and erotic passages, its school board was told by a disgusted and disappointed graduate this week.
At times the anti-religious and lewd references in The Poet X are even meshed together – such as when the young female narrator notes she “bought tampons that I shoved into my body the way I’d seen Father Sean cork the sacramental wine.”
“The same books I read in my high school career have now been banned or removed from the curriculum,” 2016 graduate Izabella Borowiak-Miller told her Blue Valley School District Board of Education at its meeting Monday night. “And they’ve been replaced with anti-religious and borderline erotic literature such as The Poet X.
“I am shocked that my brother was subjected to such a book,” she told the board, adding the young students “also had to listen to it aloud together in the context of their 9th-grade English classroom, as the teacher played the audio book several times in class.”
While movies and television shows religiously warn viewers of mature content, there is no such warning for young students or their parents about The Poet X on the Blue Valley website, or of “blasphemous rhetoric towards Catholics” in the book, Borowiak-Miller noted.
Indeed, in one passage, the protagonist discusses what she does with the communion wafer at church: “I can feel the hot eyes of the Jesus statue watching me hide the wafer beneath the bench where his holy body will now feed the mice.”
Borowiak-Miller cites excerpts in which the character destroys a Catholic diorama and opines that Catholicism “just seems like bull—-.” And she notes that the character mocks the Bible, and in particular the book of Genesis for being “mad stupid.”
Borowiak-Miller cut a solitary figure addressing the Blue Valley School Board, but she’s certainly not alone in her objections to The Poet X. The book is “a frontal assault on Christian beliefs and values,” a North Carolina couple asserted in a 2020 lawsuit over its inclusion in 9th-grade classrooms at a school there.
The lawsuit cited a passage in which the main character suggests Jesus “feels like a friend … who invites himself over too often, who texts me too much. A friend I just don’t think I need anymore.”
Observers might properly wonder whether books actually touting Jesus would fare as well in such public schools as ones that belittle him.
As for eroticism in the book, Borowiak-Miller cites these examples:
- “I am the baby fat that settled into D-cups and swinging hips so that boys who called me a whale in middle school now can ask me to send them pictures of myself in a thong.”
- “… my shirt comes off … my jeans unsnap … naked skin rubs against mine … fingers touch my breasts.”
- “But I also feel him pressed against me. The part of him that’s hard. And when his hand brushes up my thigh and then moves up …”
- “… both his hands palming and squeezing my a– …”
- “Aman rotates so now he’s behind me. His body grinds against mine, and it feels so good.”
Borowiak-Miller cautioned the school board and public before making her remarks, noting some of the book’s excerpts she read aloud might be too explicit for even adult listeners.
“These are passages that I, as a 25-year-old adult, would feel uncomfortable and inappropriate reading in front of a group of adults, let alone 14-year-olds,” she told the board.
“It’s unnecessary to say that the school had no business using their time and their power over students to expose them to this,” Borowiak-Miller told the board – adding that her mother even told the district previously that Borowiak-Miller’s brother isn’t allowed to read sexually explicit books in accordance with his Individualized Education Program, but that her message was ignored.
“I am disgusted that my brother was subjected to this, when all he and his peers did was trust the Blue Valley school system with their education.”
The Heartlander reached out to a district spokesperson to ask if the board or district would take any action as a result of Borowiak-Miller’s plea.
Noting her alma mater Blue Valley Southwest High School has a motto of “Protect the Pack,” Borowiak-Miller told the board:
“I ask you: Is this what Blue Valley represents? Is this the anti-Catholic agenda Blue Valley is promoting? Is this truly ‘Protecting the Pack’?”