Some Wins, Some Losses in Continuing Fight to Keep Books on the Shelves | Censorship Roundup

A look at the latest in censorship attempts around the country spotlights actions in North Carolina, Virginia, Florida, and Missouri.

Attempt to criminalize titles fails; books stay

District Attorney Ben David of New Hanover and Pender Counties (NC) found no criminality in having nine books in libraries at the county’s middle and high schools. The titles, which were challenged by parents and investigated by members of the New Hanover County (NHC) Sheriff’s Office, will remain available in the libraries, according to WHQR Public Media.

NHC Sheriff’s Office officers met with David in May, providing him with the list of “offensive” books, which schools made the titles available, and which passages they deemed offensive. They asked David to investigate if the books violated any criminal laws. David found that the law protected the schools and teachers for making these books available, adding that the obscenity test is high in order to protect First Amendment rights, according to the story.

The books were: All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson, Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Pérez, The Glass Arrow by Kristen Simmons, Forged by Fire by Sharon M. Draper, Melissa (formerly George) by Alex Gino, Stamped by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds, A Good Kind of Trouble by Lisa Moore Ramée, The 57 Bus by Dashka Slater, and Queer, There and Everywhere by Sarah Prager.

UPDATE SexEd textbooks reinstated removed in Miami-Dade

The Miami-Dade (FL) School Board reversed its previous decision to remove two textbooks on sex education—Comprehensive Health Skills for Middle School and Comprehensive Health Skills for High School—from middle and high school curricula, according to Local10.

It was a reversal of a reversal. The board previously had voted 5-4 in favor of keeping the books when objections were raised. A subsequent hearing was held to evaluate them. Age-appropriateness and references to “sensitive subjects” such as abortion, emergency contraception, gender identity, and sexual orientation were cited as reasons to remove them.

Virginia country receives request to remove 50 books from school libraries

A local chapter of Moms for Liberty in Fauquier County (VA) formally requested the removal of 50 books from public school libraries during a school board meeting, according to FauquierNow. A member of the group is quoted as claiming that access to these books causes “long-term sex-related behavioral problems.” Parents from the community spoke up in opposition to removing the books, including the recently retired supervisor of Library and Media Services for Fauquier County Public Schools, who noted that there is a formal reconsideration process that should be followed.

While a specific list of books to be censored was not given, FauquierNow compiled a list after reviewing parent comments and found that titles include A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah Maas, Dress Codes for Small Towns by Courtney Stevens, and Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé.

Book with nonbinary character removed in Missouri

Independence School District (MO) Board of Education voted 6-1 to remove the book Cats vs. Robots Volume 1: This is War by Margaret Stohl from elementary school libraries because of nonbinary character and references to gender identity, according to KCUR and the Kansas City Star.

One member of the nine-person committee convened to review the book cited concerns that the title and cover do not indicate that gender identity is mentioned in the book, as well as examples of young characters being skeptical of and mistrusting adults, which he said was “not appropriate” and “deeply concerning.” Parents and students came to a school board meeting to object to the removal and explain the importance of having books with LGBTQIA+ characters.

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