Texas book ban could affect Utah schools

A Texas school district has pulled 130 books from its libraries due to perceived “inappropriate content.”

The Granbury Independent School District voted to remove the books which contain stories involving racism, sexual education and the LGBTQIA+ community. 

The committee, which the school district selected, decided to permanently remove five of the selected texts as of Thursday, Jan. 28, 2022, according to WFAA. The five books that were removed were all written by young adult author Abbi Glines. The removal has received serious backlash from across the country and students within the school district are fighting to bring back those books. 

In Utah, similar moves are facing backlash from teachers within the state. Jen McKenzie, an assistant professor of special education at Southern Utah University, believes that the removal of similar books in Utah schools is on the horizon. 

“What we find is that if you look at the history of the book bans, a lot of them come from parents and parent organizations who are trying to have more strict control over what’s taught in schools,” McKenzie said. “Missouri’s doing it, Indiana’s doing it, Texas is doing it. I don’t see that Utah is far off from that.”

McKenzie also mentioned how Utah has already introduced educational bills that have been stopped by teachers within the state. One such bill is HB 234, the “Public Educator Curriculum Transparency Requirements” Bill. 

“Basically what it would do is make it so that public school employees have to post their syllabi for an entire year and then they would pretty much have to stick with that syllabi,” McKenzie explained. “And if they needed to make changes to it, they would have to go through this bureaucratic process to change the way that they’re going to teach.”

McKenzie said that this was like Texas’ book ban in the fact that it gives parents more control over their children’s educations. 

“The parents want to be able to micromanage what teachers are allowed to say and do in schools,” McKenzie said.

The bill was put on hold Friday, Jan. 28, 2022, according to KSL. As for the ban in Texas, the school district has yet to release any further information regarding when the evaluation of the books will be complete. 

Article by: Luke McKenzie


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