Parents meet to discuss controversial book related to bomb threats across Hilton schools

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HILTON, N.Y. – Every single student and teacher in Hilton was evacuated after an emailed bomb threat Wednesday morning. The motive behind the threat was a book in the school libraries titled “This Book is Gay.”

Whether it’s coincidence or not, there is a meeting Wednesday night among parents who want to get that book removed. News10NBC attended that meeting.

Parents in support of banning “This Book is Gay” from HCSD libraries gathered in solidarity at Foster’s restaurant in Hilton Wednesday night. The meeting turned contentious after a student evacuated from Hilton High School vocalized concerns for her own safety.

A bomb threat email referencing anger over the availability of “This Book is Gay” on HCSD library shelves still isn’t keeping parents like Emily Picente from backing down.

“Today was really scary and a lot of kids were traumatized,” says Picente. “Elementary kids had to get out of their classrooms. I do not want this book in the library. It’s not directed at the community or the population of people that the book might be directed towards. It’s more the content of the book that’s being so explicit.”

Like many parents in attendance at Foster’s restaurant Wednesday night, concern over the book’s content remains a concern.

“This goes beyond what I believe the majority of my neighbors believe on a religious level, not to mention on a social or societal level,” says Alyssa Trombly.

According to Hilton Central School Superintendent Casey Kosiorek, HCSD purchased the book in 2015 and has one copy that is currently checked out to another school district.

“I’m a sophomore,” says Hilton student, Olivia. “I have never heard of any kids having a problem with this book. None of you are students of the high school.”

But as the debate rages on over the content of books in school libraries across the country, Picente says that whoever is responsible for the bomb threat should be brought to justice.

“Prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law. It scared a lot of kids, when we went to pick up our kids today,” says Picente. “The kids were crying and panicked because they didn’t know what was going on.” 

Chief Investigative Reporter Berkeley Brean spoke with the parents behind the movement earlier on Wednesday. The parents believe the book is borderline pornographic and obscene. They’re filing a complaint with the school board.

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The same book was named in Wednesday’s threat.

Brean: “So the content of the threat mentions that book. Do you have any idea who sent that threat?”

Jim Burroughs, Hilton resident: “I don’t. But, all I have to say is that there’s a process that we are following to try to get this book removed. And the process is not calling in bomb threats and scaring little children and causing panic and chaos. That’s not part of my process. And whoever is responsible for this should be ashamed of themselves.”

Brean: “Do you think the threat was made to affect your meeting?”

Jim Burroughs: “I do. “I’m not going to speculate, but I do have my own feelings on this.”

Brean: “Do you have some suspicion as to who sent this thread?”

Jim Burroughs: “No, I do not.”

Brean: “You do not. But, it was nobody from your group, correct?”

Jim Burroughs: “And if it was someone that I knew, I would turn them in.”

They’re worried that Wednesday’s threat is going to scare people away from the meeting.