Statement from EveryLibrary on the Cancellation of Author Maulik Pancholy’s visit to Mountain View Middle School

EveryLibrary stands with the parents and students and staff of Mountain View Middle School and the larger Cumberland Valley (PA) school district in expressing disappointment and concern in the recent decision by their school board to cancel the visit of author Maulik Pancholy.

And we stand with educators and authors who are doing the important work of helping students develop healthy social and emotional skills which prepares them to participate and succeed in a democratic and pluralistic society.

We echo the courageous statement of the Superintendent and the executive members of the Cumberland Valley School District administrators in clearly stating their objections to the Board’s action and for unambiguously articulating the District’s responsibility to serve the entire community, ensuring that everyone is greeted with dignity and respect.

We recognize the powerful statements, petitions, letters, and voices of the Cumberland Valley School District who immediately rose to defend all members of their community. Their response is a testament to the powerful community created by the educators, parents, students who are calling their school board into account and affirming their schools to be a place where all people are treated with respect and valued for who they are.

The cancellation of Mr. Pancholy’s visit is not only harmful to him, it communicates to LGBTQ+ students, parents, and staff that they are not entitled to full participation in the school district and creates a climate of “othering” where bullying can flourish. It also sends a message that Pancholy’s books, which provide solace and support to some while helping others build empathy and understanding, are somehow problematic and unwelcome in Cumberland Valley schools.

The Trevor Project, an organization that seeks to end suicide among LGBTQ+ young people, reports that LGBTQ+ students are more than four times likely to commit suicide compared to straight and cisgender peers, and are that “negative treatment by others, such as bullying, is a strong and consistent risk factor for youth suicide.” Considering this, and the fact that additional research shows that LGBTQ youth are much more likely to be bullied, it is clear that anti-bullying books and programs are vital in protecting LGBTQ+ students from harm.

"As we stand firm against the unjust cancellation of Maulik Pancholy's visit to Mountain View Middle School, it's crucial to remember what's at stake,” says John Chrastka, Executive Director of EveryLibrary. “This is not just about a single event or title; it's about affirming our commitment to the principles of inclusivity, respect, and the right to access diverse narratives. EveryLibrary believes that every voice matters and that literature plays a pivotal role in fostering empathy and understanding across our communities. This decision to cancel his visit must be seen for what it is—an act of censorship that undermines the principles of learning and growth.”