For free real time breaking news alerts sent straight to your inbox sign up to our breaking news emails
Sign up to our free breaking news emails
Teri Patrick bristles at the idea she wants to ban books about LGBTQ issues in Iowa schools, arguing her only goal is ridding schools of sexually explicit material.
Sara Hayden Parris says that whatever you want to call it, it’s wrong for some parents to think a book shouldn’t be readily available to any child if it isn't right for their own child.
The viewpoints of the two mothers from suburban Des Moines underscore a divide over LGBTQ content in books as Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds pushes an especially sweeping crackdown on content in Iowa school libraries. The bill she’s backing could result in the removal of books from school libraries in all of the state’s 327 districts if they’re successfully challenged in any one of them.
School boards and legislatures nationwide also are facing questions about books and considering making it easier to limit access.
"We're seeing these challenges arise in almost every state of the union," said Deborah Caldwell-Stone, director of the American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom. "It's a national phenomenon."
Longstanding disagreements about content in school libraries often focus this year on books with LGBTQ themes as policymakers nationwide also consider limiting or banning gender-affirming care and drag shows, allowing the deadnaming of transgender students or adults in the workplace, and other measures targeting LGBTQ people.
The trend troubles Kris Maul, a transgender man who is raising a 12-year-old with his lesbian partner in the Des Moines area and wants school library books to reflect all kinds of families and children. Maul argued that those seeking to remove books take passages out of context and unfairly focus on books about LGBTQ or racial justice issues.
LGBTQ people are more visible than even five years ago, Maul said, and he believes that has led to a backlash from some who hope limiting discussion will return American society to an era that didn't acknowledge people with different sexualities.
" People are scared because they don't think LGBTQ people should exist," Maul said. "They don't want their own children to be LGBTQ, and they feel if they can limit access to these books and materials, then their children won't be that way, which is simply not true and is heartbreaking and disgusting."
In Louisiana, activists fear a push by Republican Attorney General Jeff Landry to investigate sexually explicit materials in public libraries — and recently proposed legislation that could restrict children and teens' access to those books — is being used to target and censor LGBTQ content.
Landry, who is running for governor, launched a statewide tip line in November to field complaints about librarians, teachers, and school and library personnel. Landry released a report in February that listed nine books his office considers "sexually explicit" or inappropriate for children. Seven have LGBTQ storylines.
In Florida, some schools have covered or removed books under a new law that requires an evaluation of reading materials and for districts to publish a searchable list of books where individuals can then challenge specific titles.
The reviews have drawn widespread attention, with images of empty bookshelves ricocheting across social media, and are often accompanied by criticism of Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican expected to run for president.
The state's training materials direct the reviews to target sexually explicit materials but also say that schools should "err on the side of caution" when selecting reading materials and that principals are responsible for compliance.
DeSantis said the state has not instructed schools to empty libraries or cover books. He said 175 books have been removed from 23 school districts, with 87% of the books identified as pornographic, violent or inappropriate for their grade level.
The Iowa legislation comes amid efforts there to keep a closer eye on public school curriculums and make taxpayer money available to parents for private school tuition. Reynolds, the governor, has made such proposals the core of her legislative agenda, telling a conservative parents group that their work was essential to guarding against "indoctrination" by public school educators.
Under a bill backed by Reynolds, the titles and authors of all books available to students in classrooms and libraries would be posted online, and officials would need to specify how parents could request a book’s removal and how decisions to retain books could be appealed. When any district removes a book, the state Education Department would add it to a "removal list," and all of Iowa's 326 other districts would have to deny access to the book unless parents gave approval.
At a hearing on Reynolds' bill, Republican lawmakers, who hold huge majorities in both legislative chambers, said they might change the proposal but were committed to seeing it approved. The bill has passed a Senate committee and is awaiting a floor vote.
"The parents are the governing authority in how their child is educated, period," said Sen. Amy Sinclair. "Parents are responsible for their child's upbringing, period."
Patrick, a mother of two, expressed befuddlement about why anyone would want to make sexually explicit books available to children.
"I have to believe that there are books that cater to the LGBTQ community that don't have to have such graphic sexual content in them," said Patrick, a member of a local chapter of Moms for Liberty, a conservative group that has gained national influence for its efforts to influence school curriculum and classroom learning. "There are very few books that have ever been banned and what we're saying is, in a public school setting, with taxpayer-funding money, should these books really be available to kids?"
Hayden Parris, a mom of two from a suburb only a few miles away, understands the argument but thinks it misses the point.
"A kindergartner is not wandering into the young adults section and picking out a book that is called like, "This Book is Gay," said Hayden Parris, who is leading a parents group opposed to Iowa’s proposed law. "They're not picking those books, and the fact that they can pick one out of several thousand books is not a reason to keep it away from everyone."
Sam Helmick, president of the Iowa Library Association, said communities should decide what’s in their libraries and that it’s important for children to have access to books that address their lives and questions. Helmick didn’t have that ability as a child, and students shouldn’t return to that time, she said.
"Can we acknowledge that this will have a chilling effect?" Helmick asked. "And when you tell me that books about myself as an asexual, nonbinary person who didn't have those books in libraries when I was a kid to pick up and flip through, but now publishing has caught up with me and I can see representation of me — those will be behind the desk and that's not supposed to make me feel less welcome, less seen and less represented in my library?"
Izaguirre reported from Tallahassee, Florida, and Cline from Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
- Book Bans In VA, Across Nation Condemned By Authors, Publishers
- Katy ISD removes 'pervasively vulgar' books from school libraries and classrooms
- #TheSame: Hungarian media defy ban on publishing LGBT+ content for children
- 10 Books Texas Doesn’t Want You to Read
- Texas school district pulls 400 books from libraries after state GOP lawmaker's inquiry
- In Texas, a Battle Over What Can Be Taught, and What Books Can Be Read
- Schools can still expel LGBTQ+ kids. The Religious Discrimination Bill only makes it worse
- The Key to Happiness Might Be as Simple as a Library or a Park
- Missing her home in Afghanistan, Rabiha found a new one at a local library
- Detecting Signs of Trouble in Schools
- While Politics Consume School Board Meetings, a Very Different Crisis Festers
- Fairfax Public Schools Reintroduces Pornographic, Pedophilic Material
|Stanley (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition) (An I Can Read Book, Level 1, Preschool-Grade 1) check it now at Amazon||Little Bear (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition) (I Can Read Books: Level 1) check it now at Amazon||Profanity: an honest coloring book for people who are mad as hell (The Honest Coloring Book) check it now at Amazon||How Are You Peeling? Foods With Moods (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition) (Scholastic Bookshelf: Feelings)$18.8||Please And Thank You Book (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition) (Random House Picturebacks) check it now at Amazon||Thomas, Percy, And The Dragon (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition) (Step Into Reading: A Step 1 Book)$67.99||The Story Of Ferdinand (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition) (Reading Railroad Books)$18.82||Superman's Superpowers (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition) (I Can Read Books: Level 2) check it now at Amazon||Children Of Dune (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition) (Dune Chronicles) (Dune Chronicles, Book 3) check it now at Amazon||Saga Of The Swamp Thing, Book 1 (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition)$33.05||Blaze Finds The Trail (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition) (Billy and Blaze Books (Pb))$17.03||A Little Prairie House (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition) (My First Little House Books (Prebound)) check it now at Amazon||Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition) (Public Television Storytime Books)$16.94||The Trek (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition) (Reading Rainbow Books)$4.75||Grey: Fifty Shades Of Grey As Told By Christian (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition)$66.96||Me And My Place In Space (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition) (Dragonfly Books)$18.8||Dirk Bones And The Mystery Of The Haunted House (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition) (I Can Read Books: Level 1)$6.1||The Berenstain Bears Visit The Dentist (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition) (First Time Books) check it now at Amazon||The Berenstain Bears And The Bad Dream (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition) (First Time Books) check it now at Amazon||Who Are You? (A Whitman small world library book)$28.71||Mike Mulligan And His Steam Shovel (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition) (Sandpiper Books)$18.8||Barn Storm (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition) (Step Into Reading: A Step 2 Book (Pb)) check it now at Amazon||Are You A Spider? (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition) (Backyard Books) check it now at Amazon||Library Book: Trout Are Made of Trees (Rise and Shine) check it now at Amazon||Are You A Ladybug? (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition) (Backyard Books) check it now at Amazon||Library Book: We Are a Team (Rise and Shine)$13.62||Barbie As The Island Princess (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition) (Step Into Reading: A Step 2 Book (Pb)) check it now at Amazon||Harcourt School Publishers Signatures: English as a Second Language Library Book Grade 3 Amelia'S Fantstc Flight (An Owlet Book) check it now at Amazon||Are You My Mother? (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition) (I Can Read It All by Myself Beginner Books (Pb))$20.8||The Country Bunny And The Little Gold Shoes As Told To Jenifer (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition) (Sandpiper Books) check it now at Amazon|
School library book bans are seen as targeting LGBTQ content have 1908 words, post on www.independent.co.uk at March 20, 2023. This is cached page on USA Posts. If you want remove this page, please contact us.