Book Removals Lead to Civil Rights Complaints in Georgia, North Carolina | Censorship News

Organizations file federal complaints against the Cobb County, GA, and Moore County, NC, schools; Alabama bill to criminalize librarians for "obscene" content fails in state's senate; and advocates file lawsuit against Alabama public library board for restricting materials.

Civil Rights Complaint Filed Against Georgia County Schools Over Book Ban | 11 Alive
The National Women's Law Center is taking aim at Cobb County (GA) Schools over the district's decision to remove four books from school libraries: It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover, The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, Lucky by Marissa Stapley, and Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. The complaint accuses the district of "creating a hostile environment for students through practices that include censoring books and learning materials that feature, tell the stories of, or are written by LGBTQIA+ people and people of color."

Removal of Books with Gay Parents Prompts Federal Complaint in North Carolina County Schools | WRAL News
PFLAG Southern Pines and Public School Advocates filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, contending that the Moore County, NC, school system is discriminating against students by “targeting LGBTQ+ content for censorship and removal from instruction, from the classroom and from libraries,” creating a "hostile educational environment," according to the complaint.

Bill to Criminalize Alabama Librarians for ‘Obscene’ Content Fails in the Senate |
A bill to make school and public library staff criminally liable for distributing “sexual or gender oriented material” to minors without parental consent died in the Alabama Senate this week. 

Alabama Public Library Board Faces Lawsuit Over Book Policies | WSFA12
A lawsuit has been filed against the Autauga-Prattville (AL) Public Library board after advocacy groups say they are enacting policies restricting certain books in the library. The lawsuit comes after a yearlong controversy over children’s books that have been claimed to have “sexually explicit content” in the library’s circulation. Court documents indicate that the current library board has adopted policies that place restrictions on library material, including children’s books that contain material dealing with sexual intercourse, sexual orientation, gender identity, and “gender discordance.”

California District Board of Education Approves Policy on Appropriate Books in Classrooms, Parents Can Now File Complaints | KGET
The Kern County (CA) Board of Education voted to adopt a policy that helps determine the appropriateness of books in schools. The policy is taken directly from the California School Boards Association and states that supplementary instructional materials, like books, must be inclusive, diverse, and educational but also appropriate.

Update: Maryland School Board Candidate Wants to Change Public School Libraries | Coast TV
In the ongoing Worcester County (MD) Board of Education election for District 5 in Ocean Pines, Dorothy Shelton-Leslie remains firmly in the lead with 631 votes, with Elena McComas following closely behind with 561 votes and John Huber trailing in third with 236 votes. Shelton-Leslie has been vocal about one of her key campaign issues: regulating the selection of books in public school libraries. Advocating for a more conservative approach, she proposes the creation of a closed-off section within school libraries to house books on topics such as queer theory and sexuality.

New Jersey Book Banners Lose Again; Board Prez Says Other Work to Be Done |
The North Hunterdon-Voorhees Regional High School District Board of Education has again defeated an effort to remove Let's Talk About It, The Teen's Guide to Sex, Relationships, and Being a Human (A Graphic Novel) by Erika Moen and Matthew Nolan from the school district's libraries. 

Virginia County School Board Adopts New Policy for Parental Involvement Regarding Library Books in Schools |ABC 8 News
The Hanover County (VA) School Board voted to approve a revised policy regarding school libraries and media centers in schools across the county. Of the multiple additions, a new section called “Parental Involvement” was added. Parents and guardians will now have the option to decide whether or not their children access instructional materials in both classroom and school libraries.

State Rep who Authored Texas Book Rating Law Wants It Defended in U.S. Supreme Court| Houston Public Media
Texas Rep. Jared Patterson made the request to take the case to the Supreme Court after the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals blocked enforcement of H.B. 900, which would require booksellers to rate books sold to schools.

As Texas District Returns Most Banned Books to Shelves, Questions Remain About Book Access | Fort Worth Star Telegram
As officials with Fort Worth (TX) Independent School District return most of the books that were unavailable to students for the majority of the 2023-24 school year—after being pulled for review of inappropriate content — the parameters surrounding student book access are still somewhat blurry. There were 118 titles pulled from school libraries in August after officials closed libraries to students during the first two weeks of school for inventory and book review purposes. Now, 90 of those titles are coming back, but Fort Worth ISD officials have declined to say whether this process will be finished by the last day of school, which is May 23. 

Minnesota Battles Back Against Book Bans | WIZM 92.3FM 1410AM
The Minnesota Legislature is considering a measure that would not allow local communities to ban books just because someone complains. The measure would also give school librarians authority to make the ultimate decisions on their collections.

Girl Scout Given Presidential Citation by Virginia Library Association for Project on Book Bans | 8News
Girl Scout Kate Lindley, who has been vocal about the Hanover County (VA) Board of Supervisors’ recent “censorship” of her Gold Award recognition, has been recognized by the Virginia Library Association for her advocacy efforts. Lindley earned a Girl Scout Gold Award for her project detailing her creation of “Banned Book Nooks” and a “Free-to-Read” app, the latter of which is designed to help users access banned books. She was publicly commended for this work at a board meeting in late April, where Lindley claims the summary of the project that she submitted was “censored.” The word “banned” was removed entirely and other parts of the description of her project were reportedly cut from what was read at the meeting, according to Lindley.

How Book Bans Might Impact Museums: A Q&A with PEN America’s Jonathan Friedman | American Alliance of Museums
Could the surge in censorship attempts threaten museums and cultural spaces? 

Why Book Bans Are Bad for Mental Health | Psychology Today
Banning books may increase mental health risk and reduce empathy.

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