JAY — Regional School Unit 73 directors voted 7-5 Thursday to allow a book about a middle school student questioning his sexual identity to remain in the Spruce Mountain Elementary School library.

The decision followed a complaint that the book “Rick” is inappropriate for that age group.

Concerns about the appropriateness of the book for elementary grades were raised at the Jan. 25 board meeting.

According to district policy, a written complaint is made and the superintendent creates a committee comprised of a principal at the appropriate grade level, a librarian/media specialist, a classroom teacher, the department head in the subject area of the challenged material, and a community member to review the material.

Superintendent Scott Albert said Michael Morin of Jay filed the complaint.

In this case, committee member Matt Charland said the book clearly fits the district’s selection policy, is fit for ages 8 to 12 and should remain in the library. The library has to have books of diverse appeal that represent different viewpoints, he said.


Former Director Sharri Ouellette of Jay said her concerns with the book are about what kids should be reading in school. If parents want their children to read certain books, they can take them to the public library, she said.

Anne Weatherbee of Jay, who taught English in the district for 25 years, said, “I am deeply concerned about the movement to restrict availability of materials for all students. It establishes a dangerous precedent. I urge you to continue to support and trust your educators.”

High school senior Megan Craig, president of the Student Council and National Honor Society, said “in the past two years I have stood in front of you twice to talk about books … knowing that I am leaving a school district that will no longer be able to preserve the esteem of our librarians, our libraries and the novels within them.”

“I have to fight for the right of representation, that I have to argue against censorship,” she said.

Craig, who works with the afterschool program at the elementary school and wants a career in education, said, “While working with kids, I see students struggling with their identity and who they are,” she said. “I see kids bullied by others their age for being who they are.”

Tamara Hoke, director of Jay-Niles Memorial Library, said “Rick” is about being true to oneself. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for 10- to 14-year-olds, she said, imploring directors to keep the book. “The child’s life you might be saving might be your own.”


Roger Moulton of Livermore Falls said he found parts of “Rick” disturbing and could cause lifelong confusion for 8-year-olds.

Director Holly Morris thought the book’s subject matter was heavy for elementary students. People can dress in any fashion they want, can mutilate their body to look the way they feel, it doesn’t change their gender, she said. “Make no mistake, there are two genders, male and female given to us by God. Anyone trying to contradict that truth is a liar.”

If diversity of materials isn’t available in libraries, how will kids be taught to think critically, Director Phoebe Pike asked.

“I cannot fathom why my dislike of the book justifies removing it from anyone else that does,” she said. “Don’t they deserve to have a book that represents them? Our job is to make sure all kids have the opportunity to find something that resonates with them.”

Voting to allow the book were Elaine Fitzgerald, Tina Riley, Robert Staples and Chantelle Woodcock, all of Jay; and Robin Beck, Lenia Coates and Phoebe Pike, all of Livermore Falls.

Opposed were Jodi Cordes of Jay, Don Emery of Livermore Falls, and Holly Morris, Tasha Perkins and Andrew Sylvester, all of Livermore.

Director Joel Pike of Jay and student representatives Skylar Condon and Avery Ryder were absent.

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