Utah school district removes more than 50 books from public school libraries, thanks to new law

Utah school district removes more than 50 books from public school libraries, thanks to new law

August 5, 2022 0 By Ellen Novack

In terms of specific numbers, the Alpine School District reviewed 275 books in total. Parents were able to suggest books from school libraries for said review. In the end, the board removed 52 books and set aside 32 more to be evaluated more closely come fall.

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“We’ve not had a book burning or anything,” David Stephenson, who serves as a spokesperson for the district, stated, adding that they’re being “proactive” about books they’ve heard “concerns” about.

Lovely. 

The Alpine School District is the biggest school district in the state. But it’s certainly not alone. This past spring, lawmakers in Utah passed a dangerous new law, HB 374, titled “Sensitive Materials in Schools,” which, in part, allows for books in public schools from K-12 to be “immediately removed” if they meet definitions of pornography under the law. As you can imagine, conservatives are quick to find anything remotely queer, or anything about sexual abuse, to be “pornography,” and content about cisgender and heterosexual people to be the norm.

It’s scary to think about efforts to ban books in conjunction with other anti-queer movements; take, for example, the Don’t Say Gay bills popping up across the nation, as well as efforts to demonize and isolate vulnerable trans youth by barring them from participating in sports and even using the restroom. Critical race theory hysteria is another manifestation of this anti-intellectual and divisive rhetoric. With midterms coming up, Republicans are pulling out all the stops to get their voter base angry at anyone unlike them.

If literal lives didn’t hang in the balance, their transparency would be laughable.

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