NJ Librarian Sues Parents Fighting To Remove Explicit Books

In New Jersey, a high school librarian is filing a lawsuit against two mothers who raised concerns about sexually explicit books within their children’s school library. Despite this legal action, the mothers remained steadfast and asserted that they would not be intimidated, urging other parents to join them in speaking out against the graphic material.

Kristen Cobo and Christina Balestriere, residents of Roxbury, New Jersey, are the parents involved in the unexpected defamation lawsuit. Roxbury High School librarian Roxana Russo Caivano initiated the legal action after the mothers voiced their concerns during a Board of Education meeting regarding sexually explicit books available in the school library.

Caivano alleged that they had defamed her by challenging her choices in selecting “content” and labeling her as a “child predator.” Additionally, they accused her of “luring children with pornography.”

Cobo and Balestriere initially raised the issue when they discovered that certain library books, which they considered to be “hardcore pornography,” were accessible to students as young as 13 years old.

Their specific concern revolved around the book titled “Gender Queer: A Memoir,” which has faced widespread criticism from parents nationwide and has been subject to challenges in multiple school districts. The book’s explicit portrayal of sexual acts and descriptions of masturbation formed the basis of their complaint.

Various organizations, including Moms for Liberty, have expressed their disapproval and frustration regarding the inclusion of such books in the libraries of public schools across the United States.

After their repeated requests to have the books removed from the library went unanswered for months, the mothers from New Jersey finally reached out to the Roxbury Board of Education. They were then invited to voice their concerns at the board’s meeting on March 6th.

Cobo commented, “We were arguing that we’re in the fight against the sexualization of our children in America and especially in New Jersey. And we feel that this content should not be made available to minor children, especially in the school district where our children are quickly rising. And that’s what we spoke to. We spoke to the fact that these are our children, nobody else’s. And we have the right to direct their upbringing, and those books do not match the morals and values that I teach in my home.”

A few weeks later, Cobo, Balestriere and two other individuals, who remain unnamed, were officially served with the lawsuit. According to Balestriere, the legal action appears to be an effort to intimidate concerned parents and discourage them from expressing their concerns publicly.
Cobo and Balestriere remain resolute in their stance and have made it clear that they will not retreat. The parents will be represented by Corinne Mullen, a legal professional specializing in First Amendment law.