Roger Moulton of Livermore Falls addresses Regional School Unit 73 directors in November 2022 at Spruce Mountain High School in Jay, pointing out his shirt with explicit images from the book “Gender Queer: A Memoir.” At Thursday’s board meeting at the school, Moulton shared his concerns about some reading materials at the school library. The board voted in November 2022 to allow the book and another on racism titled “White Fragility” to stay in the library, denying appeals from some residents to ban the books. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal file photo

JAY — Roger Moulton of Livermore Falls shared his concerns about the appropriateness of reading materials at the high school and elementary school libraries during Thursday’s meeting of Regional School Unit 73 directors at Spruce Mountain High School.

“I haven’t been back here since the ‘Gender Queer’ debate and vote,” he said. “After leaving, I discovered the most shocking image yet.” He showed an image depicting what he said was an act of pedophilia.

“If it were a photograph as opposed to an illustration, two people would be going to prison,” he said. “Why is this acceptable as a drawing in an academic institution?”

The 2019 publication, “Gender Queer: A Memoir,” written and illustrated by Maia Kobabe, recounts Kobabe’s journey from adolescence to adulthood and the author’s exploration of gender identity and sexuality, according to multiple online sources.

The board voted in November 2022 to keep the book on the high school library’s shelves, denying appeals from some residents who wanted it banned.

Moulton said he brought the illustration to a board member and couldn’t believe changes hadn’t been made since then to prevent such things going forward.


“Now we found out there is a book, possibly several with inappropriate wording and situations available at the elementary school for 8-year-olds,” Moulton said. “We are well aware of the response we will get from some board members, staff and community that will call this an attack on the LGBTQ community. If there are cis or straight books … that have similar materials for 8-year-olds we would beg and plead you to remove those from the library as well.”

On Friday, board Chairman Robert Staples of Jay confirmed that Moulton was referring to the book “Rick” at Spruce Mountain Elementary School in Jay.

Superintendent Scott Albert said later in the meeting that the book was challenged at the elementary school. The district will follow policy for challenges to remove library books, he said.

According to, the book by Alex Gino is “a young middle grade novel about a boy named Rick who is just entering middle school and is questioning his sexual identity.”

After the meeting, Albert distributed copies of the book for board members to read.

Moulton said parents were asking for the board and a parent group to read the books mentioned and possibly others.


“I don’t think that is an unusual request as ultimately parents should decide what their children are viewing anyway,” he said. There are LGBTQ-related books without such images, he said, and wondered why those books weren’t being used to support those students.

“Spruce Mountain has the (Gay Straight Alliance), which we are told is our largest extra-curricular group,” Moulton said. “We have more rainbows than any other symbols on the grounds with the exception of the Phoenix. I’m honestly not sure if we have more Phoenix symbols in this building.”

Moulton said LGBTQ students are well represented in the district, nobody is asking to change that. He said he is glad those students have a voice and resources available. As a parent, he thought chess club, math club and basketball would look better on a college application than four years of GSA.

Another concern he raised is bullying.

“For the last three or four years I have heard many stories of bullying at the middle school with no results or punishment of students,” he said. “The vast majority of parents are saying it is not being handled or changed.”

“With the amount of energy spent on welcoming all people, why are we still having these bullying issues and how do we stop it?” he asked.


He indicated he will seek a seat on the school board and will share images and situations of concern, such as the parent survey on masks being ignored, with those in the community while campaigning for election.

A districtwide survey in August 2021 found most parents favored having a choice on masking when students returned to school later that month. However, the board voted 6-5 to require everyone to wear masks in Spruce Mountain buildings.

“This is your notice to shape up and start respecting parents’ wishes,” Moulton said. “Have some actual adult discernment for what is and is not appropriate or we will have you all unseated one by one until there is at least a majority of board members with common sense and decency.”

Director Chantelle Woodcock of Jay said she knows bullying has been seen in all schools. “The thing we don’t talk about is we are seeing (bullying) with adults on social media,” she said. “We are seeing it toward our teachers, toward our administrators.

“When we think about where are the kids getting the audacity to be bullies, we need to remember they learn from the adults around them,” Woodcock said.

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