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Utah ACLU investigating Canyons School District over book removal

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Posted at 4:26 PM, Nov 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-22 18:36:09-05

SALT LAKE CITY — The American Civil Liberties Union of Utah announced Monday it is investigating complaints made against the Canyons School District over its recent removal of books from school libraries.

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Last week, the district confirmed it had removed nine books after receiving complaints from parents who said the literature contained sexually explicit material.

While district officials said no decision had been made to permanently ban the books, the titles were removed from libraries at Alta, Brighton, Corner Canyon and Jordan high schools during the review process.

When asked about the decision made by the district, Gov. Spencer Cox condemned the action, saying "we really should pump the brakes on the idea of getting rid of books."

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In a statement issued Monday, the ALCU of Utah admonished the district.

"Recently, officials at Canyons School District appear to have disregarded their standard process for reviewing content and instead removed nine books from library shelves without following established guidelines for reviewing content. As a reminder, constitutional protections cannot be simply ignored."

The organization previously sued the Davis School District after it removed Our Mothers' House from an elementary school library in 2012. The book about a family with same-sex partners was returned to the library three months later and the district agreed to not remove books based solely on LGBTQ content.

The books currently under review for their content are the following:

  • Beyond Magenta by Susan Kuklin
  • The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
  • Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe
  • Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison
  • L8R G8R by Lauren Myracle
  • Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
  • Monday's Not Coming by Tiffany Jackson
  • The Opposite of Innocent by Sonya Sones
  • Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Perez

It's not known when the review process will be completed or when the district will make an official announcement.

"As we investigate complaints related to the Canyons School District, the ACLU of Utah remains committed to ensuring the First Amendment rights of Utahns are respected," the ALCU wrote.