Ohio’s Buckeye Valley Local School District Awarded Donkey Of The Day For Banning Children’s Book ‘It’s Okay To Be A Unicorn’ Over Assumptions About LGBTQ Themes

Ohio's Buckeye Valley Local School District Awarded Donkey Of The Day For Banning Children's Book 'It's Okay To Be A Unicorn' Over Assumptions About LGBTQ Themes

It’s a book about learning to be yourself and loving who you are, but it’s sparking some controversy in a local school district. Some parents told ABC 6 that the book was given the boot at a Buckeye Valley Local school because some thought it could be promoting a gay lifestyle.

The issue is getting a lot of talk on social media and some are shocked that a book about a unicorn is at the center of the brewing controversy.

“The way I look at this is that your kids going to go through anything and it doesn’t mean cause there’s rainbows that it’s a book about being gay or whatever,” author Jason Tharp said.

A big part of the message behind Tharp’s series of children’s books is pushing self-confidence, boosting self-esteem, and speaking out against bullying. But one of his latest books, It’s Okay to be a Unicorn!, is causing a bit of a stir at Buckeye Valley Local schools.

“The book is actually about me as a kid. I grew up where I felt out of place,” Tharp told ABC 6.

ABC 6 got several tips that some expressed concern the book was promoting LGBTQ issues and would not be allowed to be read to kids. Tharp told ABC 6 that is not what the book is about.

“I was using my story of struggling because I grew up as an adult and I didn’t like myself and it took a brain tumor for me to realize I was being a horrible human to myself because I was internalizing so much of this stuff,” Tharp said.

Michelle Mauk, who actually works for the district, was shocked the book would spur a debate.

“Is highly disappointing because there’s absolutely no reason for it,” Mauk said.

This is an issue that is blowing up across the country following the passage of Florida’s so-called, ‘Don’t Say Gay bill.’

Just this week, two Ohio lawmakers introduced similar legislation that would bar discussing topics of sexual orientation and gender identity in some grades.

“Inclusion is a wonderful thing and that’s where part of our problem lays here,” Mauk told ABC 6.

ABC 6 reached out to the district and was sent the following statement:

“Buckeye Valley Local Schools has not banned the book It’s Okay to be a Unicorn! by Jason Tharp. Mr. Tharp is still scheduled to do his author visit today at our BV West Elementary building, and he is able to present his message to our staff and students. All student artwork will be displayed.

Mr. Tharp’s message: Jason shares an inspirational message with students about how he was “weird” in school but has capitalized on what made him unique (his drawing) and turned it into a strength. Jason’s message revolves around K.U.P which stands for: Kindness (be kind to others and yourself) Uniqueness (be yourself and capitalize on what makes you unique) Practice (practice unique skills you have, chase your dreams) After discussing his message, Jason will share his talent of drawing and illustration.”

Mauk told ABC 6 that district administrators are back-tracking after the backlash.

“That was not a decision that was made in this building. That was a decision that was made somewhere up that chain and no one wants to seem to take credit for that,” Mauk said.

For his part, Tharp just wants to promote a message of positivity. He told ABC 6 that his book is far from controversial.

“I’m hoping to reach that one kid, cause I’m not really worried about the masses. But if there is that one kid that’s struggling with something, that they can look at something like this because books saved me,” Tharp said.

[via WSYX]

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