Kristen Cobo and Christina Balestriere, a pair of New Jersey moms, are being sued by the school librarian for defamation after raising concerns about sexually explicit content being available in the school library. Roxbury High School librarian Roxana Russo Caivano filed the suit, accusing the two of labeling her as a child predator, and claimed they attacked her for “luring children with pornography.” However, the two concerned parents claim that all they have done was in defense of their children. Cobo and Balestriere have spent months attempting to get the school to remove ‘hardcore pornography’ and other sexually suggestive content from the school’s library, to no avail. After bringing the issue to the school board’s attention, the two were suddenly hit by a defamation lawsuit, leading the two to believe this was a move to silence parents from questioning the school’s authority. The parents, represented by a first amendment lawyer, have pledged they will not be deterred from speaking the truth. They encourage others to speak up against disgusting and inappropriate content in schools, claiming parents are on the right side of history.
FOX NEWS: Parents sued for speaking out against sexually explicit books in library: ‘It’s disgusting’
By Yael Halon; April 28, 2023
A pair of New Jersey moms being sued by a school librarian for voicing concerns about sexually explicit books in their school library said they will not succumb to “scare” tactics and encouraged other parents to join them in speaking out.
Kristen Cobo and Christina Balestriere of Roxbury, New Jersey, are among the parents at the center of the defamation suit filed by the school librarian at their children’s high school. After they spoke out at a board of education meeting about sexually explicit books in the school library, Roxbury High School librarian Roxana Russo Caivano filed a lawsuit against them, arguing that the parents had defamed her by challenging her choice of content and alleging that they had labeled her a “child predator” and accused her of “luring children with pornography.”
In an interview with Fox News on Thursday, Cobo and Balestriere said they first raised the issue after discovering that certain books, which they say amounted to “hardcore pornography,” were available to students as young as 13 in the school library.
At the center of their complaint is the book “Gender Queer: A Memoir,” which has been scrutinized by parents across the United States and has been challenged in various districts for explicitly depicting sexual acts and discussing masturbation.
“We went straight to the administrators, to the school board. We spoke out month after month. The first time we brought [it] to their attention was in August of 2022. I can tell you today all those books still remain in the library,” Cobo said on “Jesse Watters Primetime.”
After months of unanswered pleas to remove the books, the New Jersey mothers contacted the Board of Education and were invited to voice their concerns at the March 6 Roxbury Board of Education meeting.
“We were arguing [that] we’re in the fight against the sexualization of our children in America and especially in New Jersey,” Cobo said. “And we feel that this content should not be made available to minor children, especially in the school district where our children are quickly rising. And that’s what we spoke to. We spoke to the fact that these are our children, nobody else’s. And we have the right to direct their upbringing and those books do not match the morals and values that I teach in my home.”
A few weeks later, Cobo, Balestriere and two others were served with the lawsuit.
Balestriere said the suit is an intimidation attempt to silence parents.
“Absolutely. There’s no doubt in my mind that that’s what this is. It’s just to, in my opinion, scare not only us but from other parents speaking up and probably just to hit us with as many legal fees as possible,” she said.
But Cobo and Balestriere have no intention of backing down, they said, adding that they hope others in a similar position will find the courage to take a stand against radical ideologies that have crept into American classrooms.
“We have one chance to get this right with our children and we are their last line of defense against this agenda,” Cobo said. “And I say speak out. Who cares what they call you. You know your truth. You are on the right side of history. And, again, we are the last ones. We have parents, grandparents, teachers reaching out to us saying thank you. We have watched this go on in Roxbury for years. And we’re disgusted, and thank you for speaking out. So speak your truth and don’t be – don’t let anybody silence you. This is about the kids.”
The parents are being represented by First Amendment lawyer Corinne Mullen, Patch.com reported.
Photo: Maia Kobabe/Oni Press