PLATTSMOUTH - Although the first petition failed to recall Terri Cunningham-Swanson from Plattsmouth Community School District’s (PCSDD) Board of Education, a second effort has started.

The petition aims to recall Cunningham-Swanson for championing the reviewing and/or banning books in the PCSD  libraries due to what she considers pornographic and/or inappropriate content.

Many residents are now at polar opposites on the subject including Ryan Michael Whitmore who  filed the initial petition and formed Recall Terri Cunningham-Swanson.

The recall began when PCSD’s Board of Education revised its Article 6 Policy 6300, which establishes criteria for media materials.  Cunningham-Swanson was identified as a board member who spearheaded the movement, and in response Recall Terri Cunningham-Swanson formed.

Ryan Michael Whitmore, a PHS alumni, filed the first petition July 25 this year. “Terri has decided to push an extreme  personal agenda that will be a burden on the staff and taxpayers,” he said. “The agenda is to remove materials that are related to LGBTIA+, showing certain minorities in a positive light and showing Christianity in a negative light.”

(LGBTIA+  is an acronym for L-lesbian, G-gay, B-bisexual, T-transgender, I –intersex, A-asexual and + anyone who doesn’t identify or gender identification not represented in the aforementioned letters.)

PCSD list of books reviewed/removed are Triangles, Smoke, Crank, Glass, Fallout, Burned, Tilt, and Tricks - all by Ellen Hopkins; Red, White and Royal Blue - Casey McQuiston; George - Alex Gino; Lucky - Alice Sebold; Looking For Alaska - John Green; This One Summer - Mariko Tamaki; I'll Give You the Sun - Jandy Nelson; Gabi, a Girl in Pieces - Isabel Quintero; Grit - Gillian French; Juliet takes a Breath - Gabby Rivera; The Poet X - Elizabeth Acevedo; America - E.R. Frank; The Black Flamingo - Dean Atta; Where the Crawdads Sing - Delia Owens; Without Merit, It Ends With Us, November 9, Ugly Love  - all by  Colleen Hoover; Clockwork Princess - Cassandra Clare; Guyaholic - Carolyn Mackler; Go ask Alice - by Anonymous; The Hate You Give - Angie Thomas; The Perks of Being a Wallflower - Stephen Chbosky; Kingdom of Ash - Sarah J. Maas; Kingdom of Ash, Empire of Storms, A Court of Thorns and Roses, A Court of Mist and Fury, A Court of Frost and Starlight  - all by Sarah J. Maas; The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood; The Infinite Moment of Us - Lauren Myracle; Slaughterhouse Five - Kurt Vonnegut; Nineteen Minutes - Jodi Picoult; The Haters - Jesse Andrews; Beautiful Disaster - Jamie McGuire; Living Dead Girl - Elizabeth Scott; Red Hood, Red Hood  - Eliana Arnold; Like a Love Story - Abdi Nazemian; Sold - Patricia McCormick Middle School; Ghost Boys - Jewell Parker Rhodes; Life Is Funny - E. R. Frank; Pet - Alwaeke Emezi (was taken off the shelves in the summer of 2022); Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe - Preston Norton (not found in the system) Elementary School. At this time, the elementary school has not been contacted about any books.

as a compromise, the board approved shelving the identified books in a less accessible area and requiring parents to sign a form permitting their child/children to read them.

Whitmore noted Cunningham-Swanson also belongs to Moms for Liberty (MFL), a conservative group that identifies its goal as “fighting for the survival of America.” Members champion parental rights “at all levels of government,” according to its website.

“It’s important to add that we're trying not to make this a political thing.” Whitmore said. “We’re not against any political party. We’re against extremists, based in bigotry, violence and hate. People on both sides of the aisle can get on board with what’s here. It’s a small number of people who believe very extreme things and try to incite things and make it hard for the rest of us.”

A total of 686 signatures were needed for each recall to succeed. Although 749 were gathered, 125 were rejected mostly for clerical errors, said Sarah Slattery who filed for a second recall petition Sept. 1.

As with the first petition, Cunningham-Swanson was given 20 days to respond. “Then we have 30 days to gather signatures,” Slattery said.

Cunningham-Swanson said she, as well as the other board members, are upholding board policies regarding  materials in the school libraries.  Materials must address individuals’ needs  and interests within the maturity levels of the students; must encourage knowledge that will develop literary, cultural and ethical standards; reflect different religious  social, political, historical and ethnic groups. Include the obtaining of more accurate, current subject matter that the current curriculum as well as contain those containing obscene, excessively vulgar or other content harmful to minors.

“The books I asked to be reviewed break these guidelines in some way or another,” she said. “The vast majority is due to very graphic sexual content. And I do mean graphic. The list of books is on the website, too. Parents can check them out for themselves. Then go to a parent-run website, such as or to read the content of these books,” she said.

Cunningham-Swanson cited several books by Ellen Hopkins as inappropriate for public school libraries.” I am sorry to repeat this filth, but this is the reality. That book, and many others like it, were in the Plattsmouth High School library. I’m not talking about removing To Kill A Mockingbird as has been rumored. This is literary pornography, and I don’t care a single bit if it is graphic heterosexual or homosexual sex, it is in no way appropriate to be in a school library. I am targeting very graphic, sexual content. It makes no difference the skin color or sexual preference of the characters in the books. Obscenity does not belong in schoolbooks. Period.”

Slattery disagreed that all the books contain explicit sexual content. “

(I) just finished The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas,” she said in a Facebook post. “One of the books on Terri Cunningham-Swanson’s list because of “pornography. There wasn’t a SINGLE sexual encounter in the book. NOT ONE. ”

What the school board is doing regarding the books is not banning, Cunningham-Swanson  explained. Every library purges their shelves on a regular basis. This has happened in the PCSD and even the public library every single year. In fact, the school librarian who made the initial claim that I am “banning books” has gotten rid of books from the same library every year she has worked in the library. Not one single time has anyone called any of these purges a book ban.”

Cunningham-Swanson claimed she is not the only board member involved in this issue.

As I said, I am one of 8 school board members who voted to pull the books from the shelves, review them and update Policy 6300. How is it that I am singularly labeled a book banner, a Nazi, an extremist and worse?”

  She is scheduled to address these issues at a Plattsmouth Town Hall meeting Thursday, Sept. 28, at Shindigs in Plattsmouth. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and program begins at 7 p.m. Attendance restricted to 19 and older.