A Loudoun County, Virginia, teacher recently contacted police after the school librarian allegedly defended the presence of a book containing details about prostitution in the middle school library by claiming that it's helpful to preteen and teenage student sex workers.
The conversation reportedly started after the Sterling Middle School teacher asked the librarian if the school had a copy of the book Seeing Gender by Iris Gottlieb, which includes a chapter titled "'Sex Work' Is Not a Bad Term."
The teacher, whose name has been concealed for privacy reasons, had seen a May 24 tweet highlighting the chapter and its presence in a Loudoun County middle school library on the LCPS Can Do Better Twitter account.
As The Daily Wire reported, the teacher told police in a recorded conversation that the librarian, whose name is also withheld for privacy reasons, confirmed the library had the book and asserted it was beneficial to students engaged in sex work.
The librarian did not provide the names of any current students, only pointing to one that graduated six years before that had allegedly been involved in the practice.
"She started talking about how there's kids who come to the library who do sex work, and this makes them feel validated," the teacher said in the interview. "As a teacher, if you get an individual student coming to you because you're abused, you have to go [to] the police immediately."
During the teacher's interview with police, Deputy Jamie Holben — a former school resource officer for the middle school — stated that the school is in a neighborhood where authorities have reason to suspect there are cases of child trafficking.
The Christian Post reached out to Loudoun County Public Schools and the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office for comments on the claims. Responses are pending.
While police have not yet responded to requests for comment on the incident, the officer that spoke with the teacher stated that authorities would investigate the matter.
Executive Director of the Northern Virginia Human Trafficking Initiative Kay Duffield said in a 2019 statement to Loudoun Now that Virginia has the sixth-highest number of human trafficking cases in the U.S. Additionally, the director stated that most cases occur in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, which includes Loudoun County.
The middle school teacher claims the book provides instructions to students about selling their bodies for hormone replacement therapy and other needs. The librarian reportedly replied: "There's no pornography in it, so it doesn't matter." In addition, the librarian allegedly insisted that she marked the book for eighth graders, not the younger middle school students.
"I said, 'what happens if a sixth grader checks it out?'" the teacher recalled. "She said, 'I have a conversation with them about it.'"
The passage of the book pictured in the tweet explains that "Sex work is also used as a non-stigmatizing term for 'prostitution.' ... Using the term 'sex work' reinforces the idea that sex work is work and allows for greater discussion of labor rights and conditions."
The book informs readers that some people in the "sex trade" do not define what they do as a form of labor, "but simply a means to get what they need." In addition to money, the chapter states that someone may "exchange sex or sexual activity for things they need or want, such as food, housing, hormones, drugs, gifts, or other resources."
The book also notes that some sex workers operate within "legal working conditions, such as pornography or exotic dancing, and wish to avoid the negative associations with illegal or informal forms of sex work."
This incident is not the first time a Virginia school district has faced criticism for reportedly exposing students to sexually explicit materials.
During a Sept. 23 school board meeting last year, a parent of a student in Fairfax County Public Schools, one of the largest school districts in the U.S., read and shared images from two books available in the district's high school libraries.
"After seeing a Sept. 9 school board meeting in Texas on pornography in the schools, I decided to check the titles at my child's school, Fairfax High School," the parent, Stacy Langton, told board members. She discovered that the same books are available in public school libraries in her school district.
According to Langton, the books Gender Queer and Lawn Boy depict men and boys having sex and contain graphic sexual descriptions.
"Both books describe different acts," she said. "One book describes a fourth-grade boy performing oral sex on an adult male. The other book has detailed illustrations of a man having sex with a boy."
The mother read the curse words and sexual acts featured in both books, maintaining that "this is not an oversight at Fairfax High School." A school board member interrupted her, noting that "there are children in the audience here."