A plain clothes police officer reportedly entered an eighth grade classroom in Massachusetts to search for a book, The Berkshire Eagle reports.
The search took place on Dec. 8 at W.E.B. Du Bois Regional Middle School after classes. The officer was escorted by the school’s principal to the eighth grade English classroom in search of the coming of age novel “Gender Queer: a Memoir” by Maia Kobabe.
The teacher reportedly kept the book in her resource library and was surprised to see the officer in her classroom, according to The Eagle. The officer turned on his body camera to record his search for the book, which he did not find.
The Great Barrington Police Department said they were acting on an anonymous tip to investigate whether the book was age appropriate. Police then notified the district attorney’s office and school officials to let them know they were coming to campus to execute the search.
The district attorney has since ordered the investigation closed after the incident and left it up to the school to decide whether the book is appropriate.
The Berkshire Hills Regional School Committee apologized for how it handled the situation, stating “clearly and unequivocally” that it does not support book banning.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has now stepped in and requested the officer’s body cam footage and other records related to the complaint.
“That’s partly what is so concerning,” Ruth Bourquin, senior and managing attorney for the ACLU of Massachusetts said. “Police going into schools and searching for books is the sort of thing you hear about in communist China and Russia. What are we doing?”