FARMINGTON, Utah – A book about lesbian parents has been placed back on Davis County elementary school shelves, according to a statement from the American Civil Liberties Union.
“In Our Mothers House,” a children’s book about a family with two mothers, was removed from the district’s elementary school library shelves in 2012 after 25 Windridge Elementary parents signed a petition saying the book had themes that shouldn’t be available to children without their parents’ consent.
Officials agreed, saying the book violates Utah’s state sex education laws, which prohibits instructional materials containing advocacy of homosexuality.
The book was placed behind librarians’ desks where students can check it out only if they have a signed permission slip from their parents.
The removal prompted controversy and a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union in Utah on behalf of a mother with children in the district.
According to a statement released Monday, the ACLU says the book has been put back on district library shelves. Parents can still use the library’s normal procedures to prevent their children from checking out certain books.
“I’m glad the school understands they made a mistake when they took the book off the shelves,” said Tina Weber, the mother who filed the challenge, in the ACLU statement. “A small group of people shouldn’t be able to impose their personal values on everyone else by taking away access to books they might disagree with. It’s not their job to decide what my kids can read – that’s my job as a parent.”
The ACLU says they now hope to reach an agreement with the district to ensure that similar books are not improperly restricted.
“The library should be a place where students can be free to learn about the world around them,” said John Mejia, legal director of the ACLU of Utah, in the statement. “That can’t happen if a book is kept behind the desk, leading students to believe that there’s something wrong with it. We’re glad the school has removed that stigma. Now we just need to make sure that this does not happen again.”
The ACLU says they’re glad the district recognizes that the book belongs on the shelves instead of out of sight, where it may suggest to kids with same-sex parents that their families should be hidden away.
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