Dear Las Crucens,
In October, a committee of 4 teachers and 3 parents voted 6-to-1 in favor of keeping the sexually explicit book The Jack of Hearts and Other Parts in the Mayfield High School (MHS) library. Based on that recommendation, the Superintendent decided to retain the book in the school library. However, through a public records request, we have now obtained proof that the book review committee was not chosen impartially. The committee was not chosen in good faith as being representative of our community. For instance, below is a text message from School Board Member Patrick Nolan (who is the husband of City Councilor Johanna Bencomo) where he tells book review committee member Lucas Herndon that the committee was “stacked” against the parents who filed the complaint (myself and Juan Garcia – CCIA).  Note that we have never called for “book banning.” The book is freely available for anyone to purchase and should remain so. However, we are asking the school district to assess the book for age appropriateness. 
Lucas Herndon, who was texting with Board Member Patrick Nolan during the book review committee meeting, is an activist for Progress Now New Mexico. Herndon was one of the parents who was chosen for the book review committee by the school board. Here is a Twitter post that Herndon released during the book review committee hearing, where he called concerned parents fascists for challenging the sexually explicit book.
Juan Garcia and I spoke at the Las Cruces School Board meeting last night to publicly call them out on their dishonesty in the book complaint process. We also presented additional evidence that the book is “pervasively vulgar” and not appropriate for the 13-14 year old children who could access it in the school library. Here are recordings of our comment

A hearing is scheduled for Friday December 8th at 9am in order to appeal the Superintendent’s decision to retain the book at Mayfield High School. 
Juan has called for School Board Members Patrick Nolan and Robert Wofford to be recused from the December 8th appeal hearing, as the public records evidence shows they cannot be impartial about this matter. We are awaiting a decision from the school board.

Please stay tuned; there is more to come on this issue.  Standing with you in solidarity,Sarah Smith Free People of the Southwest (local action)New Mexico Freedoms Alliance (statewide action)

Standing with you in solidarity,
Sarah Smith 
Free People of the Southwest (local action)
New Mexico Freedoms Alliance (statewide action)


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