Five New York schools evacuated after bomb threat – all because of LGBTQ+ library books

A do not cross barrier in a New York street.

A school district in New York state evacuated all its buildings after bomb threats were received because they stocked LGBTQ+ books in their libraries. 

Five schools across Hilton Central School district were evacuated after an anonymous note was sent to several local media outlets on Wednesday (22 March).

According to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO), all the school buildings were searched and found to be safe. 

The threat reportedly stated explosive devices had been planted in schools due to outrage over LGBTQ+ books being stocked in their libraries, with the person responsible asking for schools and houses nearby to be evacuated to protect “innocent” people, Spectrum News reported.

“There is nothing more vile and disgusting than violating a child’s innocence, and that is exactly what this school system has done,” the note read.

More than 5,000 students and staff were evacuated from the schools.

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“We take any threat to our community, but especially any threat to children, very, very, very seriously,” MSCO Captain Pat Rojas said.

“We came here as fast as we could to determine if this threat was real or not.”

The threat specifically called out British author Juno Dawson’s This Book is Gay, with the writer claiming the school district is “grooming our children” by allowing them to read books with LGBTQ+ themes. 

Hilton school superintendent Casey Kosiorek said that, in his opinion, targeting schools over the book in question made the threat a “hate crime”. 

At a press conference, he said: “Absolutely, I see it as a hate crime. The book is authored and based on gay individuals. I think that that certainly can be a consideration when people are drawing their conclusions of whether this would be a hate crime.

“They [the students] come to school every day and all they want to do is learn. And now they’ve been disrupted. Their social and emotional health has been put in a place now, where parents are having conversations with their children tonight about, ‘what does it mean when someone is going to bomb a school?’ 

“It’s absolutely irresponsible and it should not be tolerated.”

He added that his three children attend school in the district.

The school district announced that counsellors will be made available on Thursday (23 March) if any students need support, and the police investigation is continuing. 

The incident follows anti-LGBTQ+ moves across the United States and worldwide to remove books with queer themes from school libraries, with library staff in Cork, Ireland, branded “paedophiles” for stocking LGBTQ+ titles – including Dawson’s This Book is Gay.

Outrage over LGBTQ+ books has only increased since Florida introduced its “Don’t Say Gay” law, banning queer education for young students in the state.

PinkNews has contacted Hilton Central School District for comment.