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Malvern Mom Threatens Lawsuit Against Great Valley Over Sexually Explicit Books

Fenicia Redman learned from another parent about obscene books in the libraries at Great Valley High and Middle schools about 10 months ago.

Since then, she has made it her mission to have those books removed and is now preparing to file a federal lawsuit.

Redman’s son attends Great Valley High. She was determined to do something about the books that she deemed offensive. So, the Malvern mom went to the school board and complained but got nowhere. The books remained.

Redman also filed a police report and went to the Chester County district attorney, who took no action.

She spoke to Republican gubernatorial candidates about the books and finally, with a group of other parents, Redman held a protest at the state capitol in Harrisburg. That protest has gained some support for her cause among legislators, including state Sen. Doug Mastriano, the Republican running for governor, and state Rep. Barbara Gleim (R-Camp Hill).

But with the books remaining in Great Valley School District libraries, Redman is taking another step. In March, she served the school board with a notice of intent to sue. Now she plans to launch a lawsuit in federal court.

“You’d better believe it when I say I will crawl on broken glass,” said Redman. “I’ll walk barefoot. I’ve got Lady Justice on my side, and if she knew what (the school officials) were doing to our children, she would lock them up.”

Bruce Chambers, a former Great Valley School Board president, said, “I greatly admire Fenicia Redman’s determination to pursue this issue through litigation. I find it ironic and sickening that the Great Valley School Board refused to listen to her at a school board meeting and actually left the room when she displayed pages from the books. They weren’t willing to look at the images from the books, yet they make them readily available for the children in their library.

“You only have to go to the Great Valley High School Library’s TikTok page to see what is important to the school district in the ‘education’ of our children. The first video you access on the site is ’10 Sweet Queer Graphic Novels’ which will display each of these novels for the children to check out. This is what we are paying for with our taxpayer money. It is outrageous, yet the school board and the district won’t even address the issue.

“They should not be surprised that a taxpayer is pursuing litigation against them,” Chambers added. “The district is more concerned with social indoctrination than educating the children for their future.”

Redman is basing her complaint on federal law that makes it a crime to show obscene materials to minors. It includes Section 1466A of Title 18, which prohibits anyone from knowingly producing distributing, receiving, or possessing with intent to transfer or distribute, visual representations, such as drawings, cartoons, or paintings that appear to depict minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct and are deemed obscene.

And Section 1470 of Title 18 prohibits anyone from knowingly transferring or attempting to transfer obscene material using the U.S. mail or any means or facility of interstate or foreign commerce to a minor un16 years old.

Redman said she cited those statutes to the school board for several months, “so they’ve had this knowledge of this federal law.”

And Redman said if she needs to, she will take this case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Her are exhibits ready, Redman said. They are enlarged pictures of scenes in various school library books, such as “Gender Queer,” that depict sexual acts in graphic detail, which she has taken to the state capital. While the posters were being displayed, ironically, a capitol police officer told her to take the exhibits down because children might see them.

And there are books with graphic prose as well as books with obscene pictures, she added.

One book, “Push,” tells the story of a girl who is raped by her father.

“And that is heterosexual graphic, criminal material,” she said. “What literary, scientific or educational, or health purpose does it have? That is traumatizing to a child who has no idea.”

“That is a question America needs to hear,” said Redman. “And how many other books are they hiding?

To fund her lawsuit, Redman has started a Go Fund Me page. A spokeswoman for the school district did not respond to a request for comment.

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Angry Parents Demand Action from Norristown School Board in Wake of Sexting Allegations

Angry parents showing up at school board meetings is a common occurrence in the Delaware Valley these days. But Monday night’s meeting of the Norristown Area School Board was different.

Parents weren’t upset about curriculum or mask policies. They wanted to know why board president Shae Ashe still had his job in the wake of inappropriate social media posts to a 17-year-old female student.

“This young girl felt she had nowhere to go, no one to talk to, because he was so powerful,” said resident and parent Buck Jones. “Every student that’s in this school, if you didn’t address anything else, I thought you should have addressed that. Let every student know in your district that they can go somewhere.” Jones said it was time for an emergency session to remove Ashe from the school board.

“We need our kids to feel safe coming to our schools and right now parents feel uncomfortable sending their kids to school where Shae Ashe is a leader and can groom their kids. Shae works in a lot of places that have young kids, Montgomery County OIC, Norristown Project,” he said.

The scandal began when Delaware Valley Journal published screen captures of Ashe’s communications with the teen girl, including repeated requests that they meet and comments like, “If only you were 18.”  Ashe, who is married and a father, was suspended from his job in state Sen. Amanda Capelletti’s office after the story was published.

Rudolph Clarke, the district solicitor, said the board could not take action against an elected official.

“This board does not have that authority,” Clarke said. “What the district is doing, from the superintendent to all of the board members, is things they have been guided by legal counsel to do so they are in the best interests of the Norristown Area School District.”

Ashe was not in attendance Monday night.

“This situation is not business as usual and should not be treated as such,” said Jones. “As we listen to the solicitor explain about the taxes and the importance of it…we should have those same types of things with the Ashe situation. He should have told people what to do if you are affected.”

Lisa Licwinko-Engleman, a parent who is running for a seat on the school board, said that having Ashe remain on the school board means the district is “complicit” in his violation of its policies. They include a prohibition for adults “dating, courting or entering into or attempting to form a romantic relationship with any student enrolled in the district,” she said. Adults must also not accept requests to be students’ friends on social media, according to district rules.

“Mr. Rivera, as vice president, you need to step in, step up, and make Mr. Ashe step down,” she said.  “It is your job as elected officials to protect our children. If it had been any of your daughters on the receiving end of these messages, how would you feel? These girls’ lives have been changed and their innocence gone forever because of Mr. Ashe…We as parents and taxpayers demand Mr. Ashe step down immediately.”

Also, Licwinko-Engleman said Ashe voted to approve tutoring programs paid for by the district for students to attend programs at OIC, where his family members are employed, “which is a conflict of interest.” She told the board to freeze funds to OIC until an investigation is completed.

Her remarks were applauded.

NASD Superintendent Christopher Dormer read a statement after the residents spoke, saying officials were aware of the allegations against a board member.

“Though we are unable to publicly discuss any specific steps that are being taken, the district wishes to assure our community that we are in full compliance with any applicable laws, policies, and procedures related to such allegations being made against an elected official,” Dormer said. “The administration is in regular communication with the Montgomery County District Attorney’s office and is fully cooperating with their investigation into those allegations. As this matter is ongoing, we are unable to make any additional public comments at this time.”

Emmett Madden, a lawyer representing Ashe, issued a statement saying, “We have reason to believe these alleged messages are fraudulent and part of an improper effort to influence the upcoming election.  Just as the Montgomery County District Attorney’s office is not rushing to judgment, I urge that neither you nor the voters rush to judgement [sic].”

Maria Mancuso, executive director of the Women’s Center of Montgomery County, said she could not comment on the specific case but “as a community, we need to recognize and confront sexual violence and abuse.”

The school has an “obligation to protect the student. As an organization dedicated to eliminating domestic violence and all forms of abuse, the Women’s Center of Montgomery County offers education programs for students and staff within our school districts.  We encourage staff to become trained in recognizing signs of unhealthy relationships among students, and to interact in a healthy way with them as responsible adults” and the district will “use this as an opportunity to address relationships and implement programs offered by community-based resources.”

“And we want to be sure that Dana and her daughter and others similarly victimized feel supported and encouraged to reach out for services,” she said.

Norristown parent Anna DeSanto told the board she is concerned about her child’s safety and is upset the district’s leadership has remained silent.

“You can take a stance for these kids,” said DeSanto. “That’s what we put you here for.  The people in this room, your constituents, put you here to do a job for our children.”