Target: Marian Storey, President of Davis School District Board of Education
Goal: Keep a children’s book about a family with lesbian parents in Utah’s Davis County libraries
Utah’s Davis School District recently voted to remove a picture book about a family with two mothers from school libraries after several parents complained that the book is inappropriate for elementary school children. The district demanded that libraries take the book off the shelves and instead have it only be available to students who have been given written permission from their parents to borrow the book. The district cites a Utah law that forbids schools from “advocating homosexuality” in the school curriculum as its defense for removing the book. The book, however, does not advocate anything, but simply describes the lives of children with same-sex parents. Students should not be prevented from reading a book based on a misinterpretation of a discriminatory state law.
After discovering their children reading the book, a small number of parents in the district got together to make sure it was taken out of libraries so that their children would not get the idea that these families are normal or acceptable. Although very few parents were protesting the book, the district thought it could please everyone by removing the book from shelves, but keeping it in the library. The district claims it is not violating First Amendment rights since the book is still available, even though it is much harder to access than the rest of the library’s collection.
The American Civil Liberties Union, however, states that the district cannot remove a book simply because some parents disagree with its values, and that all views should be represented without restrictions. Additionally, with the book stored behind the librarian’s counter, students have no way of knowing that the book is in the library at all, and hiding it away gives students the idea that the topic discussed in the book is taboo. The students at these schools should be exposed to all types of families in order to learn the important lessons of acceptance and tolerance.
As hard as some parents try to shield their children from discovering the diversity of their communities, they will eventually have to stop sheltering their children and allow them to learn to be accepting of others’ differences. The Davis School District must stop unconstitutionally preventing children from reading this book and ensure that all types of families are shown respect.
Dear Ms. Storey,
The Davis School District recently decided to remove a book from library shelves that describes the lives of children with same-sex parents. The district defended its actions by referencing a state law that prohibits schools from “advocating homosexuality,” even though the book is simply a description of the family and does not explicitly attempt to influence readers on the subject of gay rights.
Although students can still access the book with parental permission, the book is now hidden from view, making the subject matter seem taboo. There are students in Davis schools with same-sex parents, and the district’s actions send a message to them and to their peers that their families are not normal and are not worthy of acceptance.
A small number of parents might find the content in the book inappropriate, but students should not be prevented from reading the book because of the homophobic views of these few parents. Please allow schools to return this book to library shelves so that students will learn to be accepting of all types of families.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: nerdcoregirl via Flickr.