the kids are alright

"Gold Award" Girl Scout Claps Back At School Board For Censoring Her Project

Girl Scout Kate Lindley is on a mission to increase access to banned books, and she had something to say when the school board tried to quiet her voice.

A "Gold Award" Girl Scout who is fighting banned books spoke out against being censored during a Sch...
Richmond News Channel 6 / Screenshot

Sometimes, our kids can see things more clearly than us adults. That seemed to be the case in Hanover County, Virginia, this week, where a high school student is speaking out after the local school board “censored” her Gold Award Girl Scout project while they were ostensibly congratulating her for her achievement.

Girl Scout Kate Lindley’s “Gold Award” — the highest award earned by Girl Scouts — was awarded to her to recognize the work she’s done to fight book banning in her community. But the Hanover Board of Supervisors, which has a history of “de-selecting” books, took all mention of book banning out of her personal statement when honoring the four girls who completed projects this year.

Earlier this year, Lindley installed “Banned Book Nooks” into two businesses in the area (Morr Donuts in Mechanicsville and We Think In Ink in Ashland) and created a “Free to Read” website that helps connect people to banned books online. It was all in response to Hanover Schools banning a list of “offensive” books in 2023.

Lindley has said that her project “exposes more community members to these titles, hopefully ending their demonization.”

Four different girls received a Gold Award this year, but when the school board read about each girl’s accomplishments, Lindley’s self-submitted description was altered to take out all mention of banned books.

It’s almost as if censorship leads to more and more censorship.

In a public comment session after the incident, the community rallied around Lindley.

“It’s a sad day when the leaders of our county censor a teenager," said one speaker.

“The difference between the Girl Scouts of my grandmother’s generation and the Girl Scouts of my daughter’s generation is that Girl Scouts is willing to change. Hanover County apparently is not. Well, outside of what we’re teaching in Girl Scouts,” another speaker said.

Lindley herself also spoke out during the public comment.

“You bestowed upon me the greatest honor you could. Greater than that of any proclamation in your censorship of my Gold Award project," she said. “You have shown the world that you are afraid to call something what it is, be that a banned book or a ‘de-selected’ one.”

Cold Harbor District Supervisor Michael Herzberg, who has been involved in the book banning measures and who voted to remove the book banning language from Lindley’s award recognition, also spoke during the public comments.

“If anyone wants to support an author whose message is about pornography to children then people have the right to do that," Herzberg said. "As a board member, I have a right to say no that I don’t support that request and I also have the right to say yes I have the right to approve the substitute request so the Girl Scout could still get recognized for her Gold Award."

Sounds like he thinks he’s the only one who has the right to say and do what he wants.

Book banning in schools across the country have hit a record high in the past few years, due to organized conservative efforts — and many of these bans unfairly include large numbers of books about minorities and marginalized groups. Thank goodness that people, including our own kids, are fighting back hard.