SALT LAKE CITY (AP) – The American Civil Liberties Union of Utah is investigating complaints related to the removal of several books from the high school library shelves in a Salt Lake City suburb following a parental complaint.
The Canyons School District appears to have violated its own policy of responding to such complaints by pulling nine books off the shelves, including “The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison, before completing a full review, the organization said in a statement.
“Constitutional protection can not just be ignored,” the ACLU in Utah said in a statement.
The removals came after a parent of younger students in the district emailed about what she called sexually explicit material in several titles she learned about from social media, KSL.com reported. She told the store that she had requested that they be reviewed for content, not necessarily drawn.
Canyon’s policy states that books must remain in use until a complete review of any challenged material is completed. In this case, nine books were removed from the shelves of four high schools while a review was still ongoing.
District spokesman Jeff Haney has said the district decided to pull the books off the shelves of school libraries, while district officials review the policy itself, which also says challenges to library materials cannot come from outside a school community. He framed the district’s action as a “content review” in a statement to KSL.com
Another book mentioned was “The Opposite of Innocent” by Sonya Sones. She told KSL.com that she was “sad and upset” to learn that her book had been removed, especially as it was intended to prevent sexual abuse, and she has heard from several readers who have been helped by it . The book is about a 14-year-old girl who thinks she is in love with an older man, but later realizes that she is being sexually abused.
The other titles in question are “Beyond Magenta” by Susan Kuklin, “Monday’s Not Coming” by Tiffany Jackson, “Out of Darkness” by Ashley Hope Perez, “Lawn Boy” by Jonathan Evison, “Lolita” by Vladimir Nabokov, “Gender” Queer “by Maia Kobabe and” L8R G8R “by Lauren Myracle.
The ACLU pointed to an earlier case in 2021 in which it sued a school district after administrators removed “In Our Mothers’ House,” a children’s book about same-sex parents, from an elementary school library. The Davis School District settled down three months later and agreed to return the book to the shelves and never remove another book based solely on LGBTQ content.
Republican Gov. Spencer Cox last week called for caution, saying “history students” should be vigilant about banning books.