New Texas Law Forces School Vendors to Rate Sexual Content in Books | Censorship News

Laws going into effect in July are creating issues around the country: In Texas, school vendors must now rate sexual content in books sold to districts; Iowa public libraries that share space with school libraries struggle to adapt to new restrictive legislation meant for schools; and large book reviews forced by new law begins in Florida.

New Texas Law Forces Vendors to Rate Sexual Content in Books Sold to Schools | CNN
Book vendors selling to Texas public schools, ranging from national sellers like Amazon to local bookstores with eight employees, must now rate all the books they sell based on sexual content, according to new legislation signed into law on June 12. If the book vendor fails to comply with state library standards that will be in place by January 1, 2024, they’d be barred from selling to Texas public schools.

ACLU Argues West Michigan School District Censored LGBTQ Books | Michigan Live
In a June 22 letter to the Forest Hills Board of Education, the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan (ACLU) stated that it was “troubled” by the district’s removal of six books, which included Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews, and The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. The ACLU also raised concerns with Forest Hills for allegedly removing books from its first grade reading curriculum that included LGBTQIA+ characters. In its letter, the ACLU sought a public records request with the district seeking more information about the removal of the books.

Northwest Iowa Public Library Creates Issue in Districts Where School Shares a Library with the Public | KTIV
A new law in Iowa that places limits on school libraries is impacting some of the state’s public libraries that share resources with schools. Library director Tirzah Price said the Alta-Aurelia School District now has to comply with a law banning books that depict sex and books that aren’t “age appropriate.” Since the school shares a library with the public, the library may need to physically separate the “school side” from the “public side.” Or, in a worst-case scenario, the school district could boot the library from the building.

Dixfield-Based School District Librarians, Directors Speak Against Book Rating Suggestion | Portland Press Herald
Several Maine school directors and a spokesperson for district librarians voiced opposition to adopting a rating system for library books, in part because it violates state law. 

Cocalico School Board Member Speaks Out Against 'Questionable' Books in School Library | Lancaster Online
At a Cocalico School District school board meeting in Denver, PA, a board member held up a copy of Blankets by Craig Thompson, which is marked with a red dot indicating it is restricted. She questioned why this book was available to children at the Ephrata Public Library and on the bookshelf at the high school library. She also objected to the graphic novel version of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale.

Author of the Country’s Most Banned Book On Finding Joy Despite Attacks | The San Francisco Chronicle
Maia Kobabe, whose Gender Queer has topped the nation’s most banned books list for two years, discusses why the graphic memoir has resonated within the LGBTQIA+ community and beyond.

Georgia School District Intends To Fire Teacher After She Read Book About Gender Identity to Fifth Grade Class, Document Shows | CNN
Cobb County (GA) School District informed the teacher, Katherine Rinderle, that it “intends to terminate” her employment at Due West Elementary School after she read the book My Shadow is Purple to her students, according to a charge letter from the school district reviewed by CNN. The school district told Rinderle that she was being fired “on the grounds of insubordination, willful neglect of duties and any other good and sufficient cause.”

Authors, Free Speech Organizations Send Letter to Florida School District, Urgint It To Stop Book Scrutiny | Tampa Bay Times
The authors of dozens of books facing scrutiny by a team of Pinellas County, FL, school librarians urged the school district to call off the effort, which begins in early July. Joined by three prominent anti-censorship organizations—PEN America, We Need Diverse Books, and Florida Freedom to Read Project—the authors raised concerns that most of the 87 titles to be reviewed include underrepresented characters or themes.

Texas District Waters Down Book Removal Policy, But Opponents Still Wary | KERA
The Mansfield (TX) ISD school board Tuesday night unanimously approved a revised book ban policy that drew praise from school librarian Jennifer Reich, who was upset by the board’s first version. “I wanted to be here tonight to say thank you,” Reich told the board. “The policy as you all have revisited it might not be my perfect world, but I felt like you all listened.”

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