SALT LAKE CITY~ After a parent fed up with efforts to restrict items from schools persuaded a suburban district that some Bible verses were too profane or violent for younger children, the Good Book is now being treated like a bad book in Utah. The Book of Mormon might come next. After a committee examined the scripture in response to a parent complaint, the 72,000-student Davis School District north of Salt Lake City decided to remove the Bible from its elementary and middle schools while retaining it in its high schools. Following a 2022 state rule requiring schools to involve parents in choices over what constitutes “sensitive material,” the district has withdrawn several books, such as Sherman Alexie’s “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” and John Green’s “Looking for Alaska.”
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as the Mormon church, is the largest religion in Utah. On Friday, a complaint was made regarding one of its founding texts. Chris Williams, a district spokesman, said that a review request for the Book of Mormon had been submitted, but he declined to disclose the reasons. He also declined to confirm whether it came from the same person who had complained about the Bible, citing a school board privacy regulation. Church representatives declined to respond to questions about the difficulty. Christians read the Bible as well.
Williams claimed that the district doesn’t distinguish between requests for book reviews and doesn’t take complaints made as satire into account. The committee in charge of the reviews is made up of of parents, educators, and administrators in the predominately conservative neighborhood. The committee did not explain its reasoning or specify which Scripture passages it judged to be particularly violent or vulgar when it published its conclusion regarding the Bible in an online database of review requests. The choice was made as conservative parent activists, especially state-based Parents United chapters, invade school boards and statehouses around the US, raising concerns about how sex and violence are discussed in classrooms.
A nationwide political action committee called Every Library informed The Associated Press last month that it was monitoring at least 121 different bills that have been presented in legislatures this year that have as their targets libraries, librarians, teachers, and access to resources. The number of attempts to restrict or outlaw books in the United States in 2022 was, according to the American Library Association, the highest in the previous 20 years. According to Kasey Meehan, who oversees the Freedom to Read program at the authors’ organization PEN America, “if people are outraged about the Bible being banned, they should be outraged about all the books that are being censored in our public schools.”
News on SNBC13.com