A children’s book about unicorns has been banned from an Ohio school district after the book was deemed inappropriate due to the rainbow on its cover.
On April 6, author Jason Tharp was scheduled to appear at the local Buckeye Valley School District for a reading of his book “It’s Okay to Be a Unicorn,” which centers on a unicorn who fancies itself a horse until ‘she embraces her true nature. .
This premise, however, did not sit well with a parent who, according to The Independent, believed Tharp “came up with a scheme to recruit children to become gay”.
“I was just shocked – and all of this from a single parent,” Tharp said. Told The Washington Post. “I’ve never had a problem like this…I never thought in a million years that I would have to defend this book.”
To remedy this, Tharp offered to read another of his books to the children – “It’s good to smell good!” – which features a skunk who lives in a foul-smelling world and eventually learns to appreciate the beauty of pleasant smells. However, his proposal was rejected, Tharp said, “because apparently it could be turned into a program as well.”
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Prior to the event, Tharp was also would have instructed by the school principal not to discuss “It’s okay to be a unicorn” or “It’s okay to smell good!” And when visiting Buckeye Valley West Elementary, The Independent reported, Tharp discovered that students and staff had removed all of their artwork depicting unicorns and rainbows ahead of the event.
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After the event, the school board reportedly held an “emergency meeting” where several members of the community voiced their grievances about the district’s treatment of the perpetrator.
A parent is said to have started a GoFundMe to ensure that Tharp’s next school event will be free.
“It’s Good to Be a Unicorn” makes no explicit mention of the LGBTQ+ community, and Tharp thinks conservative parents may have projected their own fears onto the job.
“I’m not here to entertain adults who want to project their own problems onto a children’s book,” he told a CBS affiliate. “I’m here to create books that inspire kids to dream big, to embrace each other, to understand the importance of caring, to really learn to manage their emotions because it’s a confusing world we live in, and Being a human isn’t easy.”
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Tharp is just the latest author or educator to get caught in the crossfire of the culture war around race, sex and gender.
Just last week, a Missouri high school teacher was fired for handing out a 15-question worksheet titled “How Racially Privileged Are You?”. And last month, a vice principal in Mississippi was fired for reading a book to his students called “I Need a New Ass!