Photo: District 3 Hamilton County School Board Member Joe Smith Photo Credit: Facebook
The Tennessee Conservative [By Paula Gomes] –
In a social media post on Sunday, a Hixson TN native shared concerns over Hamilton County School Board member Joe Smith and his view on books in local schools that conservative parents find inappropriate.
Joe Smith, also known as Mr. Joe, is an elected board member in Hamilton County TN, responsible for District 3 which includes Big Ridge, Dupont, Middle Valley, Hixson Middle and High and Loftis Middle.
A leader in the community, some of the programs Smith is associated with are Jabbing for Jesus, Y-cap, Prison Prevention Ministry, and he has been a youth minister at several churches throughout his career.
Smith spoke during the October 2021 board meeting about books. He went into detail about a book called “Far from the Tree” stating reading it was life-changing for him. A local public-school librarian recommended that he read the book because it is “his story.”
In her post on social media, the Hixson native described the book in question:
I purchased the book, and attempted to read it through to the end.
Grace: An adopted child. She got pregnant in high school, had a baby at 16, she put her baby up for adoption. This experience made Grace want to find her bio mother. Grace has two biological siblings, Maya and Joaquin.
Maya was adopted by a different family. Her adopted mother is an alcoholic, her adoptive parents fight a lot and eventually tell her they are getting divorced. Maya has a girlfriend named Claire. Maya has a pretty dark sense of humor, (i.e. she jokes about practicing devil worship and ritual sacrifices.) Maya is a drug user.
Joaquin is their biological brother. He has had 18 sets of foster parents. His current foster parents are good people and want to adopt him.
I would rate this book as DIRT based on a book review rating that I found at a website called Rated Reads.
The F-bomb is sprinkled throughout, I stopped counting after the 10th or 11th time. G-D is also featured along with other curse words…
Hamilton County parents and Moms for Liberty recently performed a Hamilton County curriculum review that extended into suggested books for students to read that appear in HCS libraries.
District 1 School Board Member Rhonda Thurman challenged any of the administration or librarians in attendance at the October board meeting to approach the podium and read excerpts from some of the books in question.
“I want you to get up and read some of the things I have marked… I want the taxpayers to understand exactly what I’m talking about… I’m talking about ‘MF,’ I’m talking about ‘GD.’ I’m talking about the ‘F-word’ until it’s ad nauseum. Page after page after page… I want everybody in Hamilton County to know, this is what your tax money is paying for,” she said.
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Sunday’s social media post called Smith to account not just as a board member but as a man of Christian morals.
“I am speaking to Joe as an elected servant in the language of a conservative Christian because Mr. Joe has built his entire career and image on Christian tenets.
Mr. Joe, it is my personal opinion that you can’t continue to fall back on this “man of God” image and ask your Christian friends and family to vote for you, as long as you continue to capitulate.
Did you know that you have a reputation around town that you just don’t want to upset anyone? That’s a perfect way to act at Thanksgiving Dinner but not in an elected position. You are called to serve your constituents and you need to be 100% transparent about how you really feel.
If you feel these type[s] of books are appropriate for children, just say it.”
About the Author: Paula Gomes is a Tennessee resident and contributor to The Tennessee Conservative. You can reach Paula at email@example.com.