The Intellectual Freedom Round Table (IFRT) provides a forum for the discussion of activities, programs, and problems in intellectual freedom of libraries and librarians.
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When a group of conservative Downers Grove parents organized this year to oppose mask mandates and equity initiatives at schools, it led to some tense school board meetings in the western suburb.
Yet students at Downers North and Downers South high schools said they didn't see a big impact on their lives until the parents sought to remove a graphic novel by a nonbinary author from the school libraries over concerns it included a few sexually explicit illustrations - a fight that caught the attention of the Proud Boys, a far-right gang that has recently seized on the culture wars playing out at school districts around the country.
A Proud Boys contingent ultimately showed up for a board meeting in Downers Grove last Monday where the book was discussed, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned.
Edgar "Remy Del Toro" Delatorre, a leader of the group's northern Illinois chapter who was at the Jan. 6 insurrection in Washington, D.C., said he was among roughly 10 Proud Boys in attendance.
They were joined by Proud Boys associate Brian Kraemer, who has appeared at demonstrations with members of the group and who was charged with brandishing a knife at a Black Lives Matter demonstration in Joliet last summer.
Their presence at the meeting - where students said the men jeered at them, even called them "pedophiles" for supporting keeping the book in the library - was "unnerving" and "intimidating," they told the Sun-Times. It has led to rifts among students in the school, including one who wore Donald Trump garb to class this week while arguing a
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