This week, 19 children and 2 teachers — all primarily Latine — were killed.
Less than two weeks ago, 10 Black people — all primarily older individuals — were killed.
Books did not kill them.
Guns killed them.
Immediately after this week’s preventable tragedy, the various Moms For Liberty and similar groups posted a requisite thoughts and prayers, and it was back to business as usual. All Boys Aren’t Blue might see a lawsuit filed against it in Northside Independent School District in Bexar County. One of the members of that Moms For group calling for this move lost a child in the shooting. That was only mentioned in passing.
Books don’t kill people.
Guns kill people.
Call to Action
I am a human feeling a lot of things right now. Anger. Frustration. Disgust. Exhaustion. Worry.
Voting isn’t enough. “Vote” is the “thoughts and prayers” response from the left. We’ve done that. We keep doing that. Now it’s time for those who got those votes to grow a spine and do something. To give a single, solitary shit about something other than keeping power.
That we as a country do not institute a day of mourning following a tragedy, that we have not paused for a single solitary second to mourn the over one million people who have died from COVID due to incompetent and inept and willfully harmful government, that children and elderly people going about their days have their lives taken from them….it’s all too much.
Today’s action is to sit with this. If it feels good to write your representatives, do so. If you want to give money somewhere, some organizations doing the work:
Hillcrest Funeral Home in Uvalde is doing the services for the children and teachers murdered this week for free. This is at a tremendous cost to them, and any donations you want to make will help them offset the cost. You can indicate in your donation what it is for.
The leading cause of death for children in America is now guns.
It is not, and it never was, books.
The people who don’t believe educators are smart enough to share age-appropriate books with children are the same people who think the solution to murder is arming those same educators with guns.
Make it make sense.
Book Censorship News: May 27, 2022
- The State Delegate and lawyer who filed a lawsuit against Barnes & Noble for “inappropriate books” is now going directly after school librarians in Virginia Beach, VA. Right now, the district is also reevaluating their book policies. The ruling that led to the delegate filing the B&N lawsuit is giving hope to parents fighting to get Gender Queer removed in other parts of the state.
- A state investigator in Florida is trying to find out who bought Gender Queer for Orange County schools. Trying. To. Find. The. Librarians. Who. Bought. This. Book.
- In Granbury ISD (Texas), there is an active investigation by the police about books in the school library. The discussion to be had here about over-policing, about a police department with far too much time and money on their hands, and how white conservatives use public funds to do this kind of work is big.
- Public libraries in Michigan have become rife with challenges. In addition to the cities and titles mentioned in that piece, a Hillsdale Community Library librarian walked off the job because of a proposed ban on queer books in the children’s section. It was not that library’s first resignation in light of a censor-friendly board.
- Micah Drew updates the current collection development policy discussions in the on-going mess at the ImagineIf library in Kalispell, Montana.
- Fun Home was banned in Wentzville schools (Missouri).
- “[T]he district leadership team has begun reviewing ways to allow parents to register electronically whether their children must have specific permission to access library books, or if they are allowed to take what they want. A notification would come up when children provide their student number for checking out the materials.” In Pasco County, Florida, the board wants to force permission for students to access certain material. This should go well for queer kids who are not accepted at home.
- Fargo, North Dakota, schools have had only one book challenge this year (good news!). It seems like it died in the process, but there’s no indication what the book was.
- 7 books will stay on shelves in St Johns County schools in Florida.
- Melissa, formerly called George, will no longer be on shelves in Greenville County South Carolina elementary schools. The same school board is asking state legislators to demand publishers put ratings on books (no, not like age ranges).
- In Kutztown, PA, students need permission from parents to check out Gender Queer.
- The teacher who assigned the “controversial” book Salvage The Bones in Northern Guilford High School (NC) addresses the board about the power of that book and why she uses it (only 5 students have complained).
- ““We are asking our community to please not follow Representative Patterson’s example of reporting books in social media posts and instead share the titles with us directly so we can quickly begin our reconsideration process,” Waldrip said. “With over 1,000,000 titles, it will take more than a year to re-evaluate our collection for compliance with our new guidelines, but the sooner we can remove inappropriate content, the better.”” In Frisco, Texas.
- Jonathan Evison, author of the ban favorite Lawn Boy, talks about the experience of having his book banned by those willfully misrepresenting the part that they’re offended by.
- With the new anti-LGBTQ+ board president in place, don’t expect challenges or censorship to slow down in Katy, Texas, ISD.
- Meanwhile in Rapid City, South Dakota, it’s going to be a hell of an election.
- In Hempfield, PA, schools, ““I don’t want to change something just because I disagree, but I want a chance to disagree. And I want a chance to vote, and vote that book down,” Bompiani said. “That book was disgusting.””
- Parents in the Topsham area schools in Maine are mad about books in a curriculum to help students understand sexual violence.
- Garwood schools in New Jersey are not using the sex ed curriculum proposed by the state. Something worth noting is that New Jersey’s sex ed standards — Comprehensive Sex Ed (CSE) — was splashed across right-wing groups earlier this year as what parents need to be worried about and challenging. So that there was a rejection in New Jersey is not a shock.
- Here’s a look at the books that have been banned in Houston area schools in Texas.
- In Alamance County, North Carolina, the public library is under fire for LGBTQ+ book displays.
- Speaking of LGBTQ+ book displays in public libraries, that has been the impetus for a year-long challenge in Citrus County public library in Florida.
- And in Enid Public Library (OK), where displays were banned, there is a new policy in place after a lawsuit threat. This is ridiculous: “Displays created by Enid library staff would be intended for a general audience that includes children of elementary school age, while outside exhibits that include “adult content” but aren’t obscene or harmful to minors could be placed upstairs. Neither displays nor exhibits can include material that is “obscene” or “harmful to minors,” as defined by state statute. Wednesday’s policies included footnotes defining “obscene” and “harmful to minors” using statute, but no definition was given for “adult content.””
- Burke County public schools in North Carolina want more control over the books being used for free reading in the schools.
- In North Carolina, a new bill would bar LGBTQ+ lessons for kindergarteners through 3rd graders. I am paywalled from this story, but it’s a look at how misinformation has fueled this anti-LGBTQ+ “cultural war” in North Carolina — shocker, the bill was proposed by someone from New Hanover.
- All Boys Aren’t Blue among books and topics challenged in Portland, Maine, schools.
- No Left Turn getting a lot of their ideology implemented in a proposal for book selection and use in Central Bucks schools (PA).
- Gender Queer under fire in Crested Butte, Colorado. Thanks to a legal ruling, though, the names of those filing the challenges weren’t released. This..should be freely available information.
If you work in or visit libraries during the month of June, be prepared for seeing displays and events challenged left and right related to Pride. Already, the Illinois pro-censorship group has been targeting Drag Queen and Pride Storytimes across the state. It happened in New Hanover County public library in North Carolina.
Write letters. Show up to meetings. Find alternate places to hold the event if necessary. If you are a citizen, offer to be an escort for folks to safely get to and attend the event.
Lives depend upon this.
- You Need To Talk About The Sex Parts in Banned Books: Book Censorship News, May 20, 2022
- The School Board Project, Round One: Book Censorship News, May 13, 2022
- How to Update Your Book Challenge Forms (with Template): Book Censorship News, May 6, 2022
- How One District Is Pushing Back Against Book Banning: Book Censorship News, April 22, 2022
- What Do School Boards Do?: This Week’s Book Censorship News, April 15, 2022
- No Actions Offered to Librarians to Help With Book Bans From National Org: Book Censorship News, April 8, 2022
- Technology for Parent Monitoring of Student Library Use is Being Developed by Follett: This Week’s Book Censorship News, April 1, 2022
- The Censorship Story I Can’t Tell You: This Week’s Book Censorship News, March 25, 2022
- What Are Obscenity Laws?: Book Censorship News, March 18, 2022