A viral video of a senior at the Idaho Fine Arts Academy who brought her copy of the classic novel to her graduation with one purpose in mind.
May 26, 2024

Last December, West Ada School District in Idaho began pulling books from the library shelves deemed objectionable. One of those books was The Handmaid’s Tale: The Graphic Novel by Margaret Atwood and adapted by Renee Nault. They did so based on ratings from BookLooks.org, a website created by “concerned parents” in Brevard County, Florida. The concerned parents were the astroturfing group Moms for Liberty, of course.

One of the students affected was Annabelle Jenkins.

Annabelle Jenkins, a senior at Idaho Fine Arts Academy, was particularly bothered by the removal of “The Handmaid’s Tale: The Graphic Novel,”: “Being allowed to read that book helped me develop my own ideology, and my own thoughts on the issues that it presents on female agency and reproductive rights.”

West Ada librarians and students say they’re frustrated and disheartened after district leaders removed the books without considering their perspectives, under an unusual policy that gives the superintendent, or an otherwise designated district administrator, wide latitude to remove books.

“It leaves a very bad taste in my mouth,” Annabelle Jenkins, a senior at Idaho Fine Arts Academy, said. “We need to feel heard, we need to feel involved.”

Jenkins said the review process “shut the student involvement out of that conversation.” She believes kids should have a voice, even if adults make the final decision.

Jenkins voiced her disagreement with the policy but to no avail. Given no recourse during the school year, at her graduation, she tried to present Superintendent Derek Bub with a copy of the graphic novel. And like a true fascist, he wouldn't touch it. Jenkins dropped the book at his feet in disgust.

Annabelle's TikTok video was just released on Friday. It now has 20 million views.

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