AMERICAN FORK, Utah — The Alpine School District has made the decision to remove 52 books from their library shelves, citing title and content complaints from parents.
Utah’s largest school district is now at the center of the state’s book ban controversy, with some organizations praising the decision and others denouncing it.
The 52 books were released in a list by the organization that included “Out of Darkness” by Ashley Hope Perez, “Gender Queer” by Maia Kobabe, “Lawn Boy” by Jonathan Evison, “This Book Is Gay” by Juno Dawson, and George M. Johnson’s “Not All the Boys Are Blue,” all of which are books frequently banned from schools across the country.
“Rapid removal of books is not meant to be routine in school libraries,” said Jonathan Friedman, director of free expression and education programs at PEN. “Students have the right to learn about the variety of human experiences and perspectives that these books bring. Serious questions remain about how this decision was made and whether state laws were properly enforced.
“Please send thank you emails to the Alpine School Board for removing these books!” the group wrote on Facebook.
However, two state library associations, the Utah Educational Library And Media Association and the Utah Library Association are sounding alarm bells over how this decision was made.
“I would say my first reaction was a bit heartbreaking, really worrying,” said Tricia Fenton, the former UELMA resident. “We don’t want to set this as a precedent for every other LEA in the state.”
The Alpine School District said their actions resulted from legislation passed in Utah regarding sensitive materials, which requires school districts to have a process for identifying materials to include or disqualify from use in libraries. and schools.
“In accordance with these laws and regulations, the Alpine School District is still reviewing our processes for sourcing library materials. As directed in the law, a committee will further review books to determine if an appropriate alternate designation of restricted or suppressed status is required,” a district statement read.
Some books may be kept in a school, pending adoption of local council policy to pursue formal committee review.
“We didn’t burn any books or anything,” Stephenson said. “But we are proactive with those we hear about.”
Both library associations recognize that certain books should not be in school libraries.
“Because there are going to be book challenges and that kind of thing is going to happen,” Bishoff said. “We want equipment adapted to the age of the children. It’s really important.
But it’s the verification and the rushed nature of the books being removed as a massive volume of work that organizations take issue with and fear they won’t be fully verified beforehand.
“We do a disservice to students when we limit [students’] ability to engage with difficult materials,” Bishoff said.
Complete list of drawn books:
- Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson
- The Haters by Jesse Andrews
- Damsel by Elana K. Arnold
- Red Riding Hood by Elana K. Arnold
- What Are Girls Made Of by Elana K. Arnold
- My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf
- Queer: The Ultimate LGBTQ Guide for Teens by Kathy Belge and Mark Bieschke
- The Sin Eater’s Confession by Ilsa J. Bick
- Forever… by Judy Blume
- Flamer by Mike Curato
- This book is gay by Juno Dawson
- The Girl Who Fell From The Sky by Heidi W. Durrow
- Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison
- Bray’s Carnival Jessie Ann Foley
- Rethinking the Normal: A Memoir in Transition by Katie Rain Hill
- Crank by Ellen Hopkins
- Fallout by Ellen Hopkins
- Pulse by Ellen Hopkins
- People Kill People by Ellen Hopkins
- Tilt by Ellen Hopkins
- We Are Shaun David Hutchinson’s Ants
- Not All Boys Are Blue by George M. Johnson
- Almost Perfect by Brian Katcher
- Milk and honey from Rupi Kaur
- Gender queer by Maia Kobabe
- A Lesson in Vengeance by Victoria Lee
- Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan
- Real Boyfriends Live: Yes. Boyfriends, plural. If my life wasn’t complicated, I wouldn’t be Ruby Oliver by e. lockhart
- Devils Girls by Amy Lukavics
- A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas
- A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
- A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas
- A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
- A Court of Wings and Ruins by Sarah J. Maas
- The Truth About Alice: A Novel by Jennifer Mathieu
- Cast by Lisa McMann
- Shine by Lauren Myracle
- ttfn by Lauren Myracle
- ttyl by Lauren Myracle
- Breathless by Jennifer Niven
- Neanderthal opens the door to the universe by Preston Norton
- Out of the Darkness by Pérez, Ashley Hope
- grl2grl: short fiction by Julie Anne Peters Nineteen
- Minutes of Jodi Picoult The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed
- Angus, flip flops and frontal kissing by Louise Rennison
- The Midnight Lie by Marie Rutkoski
- Push by Sapphire
- Jesus Land: A Memoir by Julia Scheeres
- SEX: If you’re afraid of the truth, don’t read this! by Carl Sommer
- The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
- This Summer by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki