SALT LAKE CITY (USA), June 3 (AP) — A good book is being treated like a bad one in Utah as a parent, frustrated with school efforts to ban the textbook, convinces a suburb that some Bible verses that are too vulgar or violent for young kids.
The Davis School District, with 72,000 students north of Salt Lake City, removed the scriptures from elementary and middle schools while keeping them in high schools after a committee reviewed the scriptures in response to parent complaints.
School districts have already removed other books under a 2022 state law requiring school districts to decide what constitutes “sensitive material,” including Sherman Alexie’s “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” and John Green’s “Finding Alaska”. “
School district spokesman Chris Williams said it does not differentiate between book review requests. The review was handled by a committee of teachers, parents and administrators drawn primarily from the conservative community, most of whom are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The committee published its decision in an online database of review requests, but did not detail its reasoning or which passages of the Bible it thought were too violent or vulgar.
The decision came as conservative parent activists, including the state chapters of Parents United, flooded school boards and state capitols across the United States to sound the alarm about the way sex and violence are discussed in schools.
The parent pointed to examples of incest, prostitution and rape in the Bible, according to a copy of the complaint obtained by the Salt Lake Tribune through a public records request. The complaint mocks the “malicious program” and says the school district is “ceeding our children’s education, First Amendment rights and library access to the Parents Federation.”
“The Utah Parents’ Association has dropped a book about the most sexually oriented sex: the Bible,” the parent said in the complaint, dated Dec. 11. It later went on to add, “You will undoubtedly find that the Bible (under state law) has no serious value to minors because, under our new definition, it is pornographic.”
Williams said the review board determined the Bible did not meet Utah’s definition of pornographic or indecent content, which is why it remained in the high school. He said the board could make its own decisions under the new 2022 state law and address multiple challenges by applying different standards based on the age of the students.
An unnamed political party appealed Wednesday.
Most members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints read the Bible and other scriptures, including the Book of Mormon, which is unchallenged in the Davis School District.
The Bible has long been on the American Library Association’s Most Challenged Books list and was temporarily pulled from shelves in school districts in Texas and Missouri last year.
Concerns about new policies that could put the bible in trouble often arise in state legislatures as they debate efforts to expand the banning process. These include Arkansas — one of the states this year to enact laws that would make librarians criminally liable for providing “harmful” materials to minors, and create a new state for the public to request that materials be transferred to libraries. a new program.
“I don’t want people to be able to say, ‘I don’t want a Bible in the library,'” Sen. Linda Chesterfield, D-Arkansas, said at the hearing.
Parents who are fighting for more say in their children’s education and the curriculum and materials offered at schools argue that they should control how their children are taught about issues such as gender, sex and race.
EveryLibrary, a national political action committee, told The Associated Press last month that it is tracking at least 121 different proposals for libraries, librarians, educators and access to materials introduced in the Legislature this year. The number of attempts to ban or restrict books across the United States last year was the highest in 20 years, according to the American Library Association.
“If people are angry that the Bible is banned, they should be angry about all the books that are being censored in our public schools,” said Kasey Meehan, director of the Freedom to Read Project at the writers group PEN America. (Associated Press)
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