The movement to ban – or even burn – school library books is gaining momentum

Book ban efforts in schools have accelerated this year, with parents and school leaders across the country trying to remove titles they deem inappropriate from library shelves.

Arguments over what children should be allowed to read even slipped into Virginia’s controversial governor race this year, with newly elected governor Glenn Youngkin (R) criticizes his opponent, former Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D), for vetoing a bill during his tenure that would have allowed parents to opt out of their children reading assignments they found offensive.

While the current war on books is mostly waged by conservatives, there is one demonstrated history of efforts to ban books in schools, including by liberals. These efforts have involved classics such as “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”, “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “Of Mice and Men” for their use of racist language.

Lately, in addition to race, the book ban effort has been centered around tackling titles gender and sexuality.

Parents in Utah earlier this month launched a campaign to ban more books from library shelves, mainly dealing with racial or sexual identity and gender identity. In Kansas, announced a school board last week it planned to remove 29 books from circulation, among them Toni Morrison’s “The Bluest Eye”, August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play “Fences” and Stephen Chbosky’s “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”.


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Two school board members in Virginia said last week that they not only wanted to remove certain books from school libraries, but burn them.

“I think we should throw those books on fire,” a Conservative representative said, according to the newspaper Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. He reportedly added that letting the book “33 Snowfish” about homeless teens trying to escape sexual abuse, prostitution and drug abuse stay on the shelves one more night meant that public schools “would rather have our children read” homosexual pornography than about Christ. ”

Another said he wanted to “see the books before we burn them so we can identify in our community that we are eradicating these bad things.”

At the same meeting, the school board votes unanimously to review certain books in the district’s libraries for sexually explicit content.

In Texas, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott wrote in a letter to the executive director of the State Association of School Boards last week that parents have the right to “shield their children from obscene content in schools,” and public schools should not provide “pornographic or obscene material” to students.

The letter provided no concrete examples of such content.

Supporters of book bans are generally also advocates of a larger agenda to control what elementary school educators teach students. It relates to a great extent lessons about race.

“What has surprised us this year is the intensity with which school libraries are under attack,” said Nora Pelizzari, a spokeswoman for the National Coalition Against Censorship. told The Washington Post this week.

“Especially when taken in line with the legislative efforts to control school curriculum, this feels like a more general attempt to clean schools of materials that people disagree with,” she added. “It feels different from what we’ve seen in recent years.”


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