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Old November 15th, 2012, 06:29 AM   #1
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SALT LAKE CITY (Reuters) - A Utah parent has sued her school district in federal court challenging the constitutionality of restrictions imposed on student access to a library book about a lesbian couple raising a family. "In Our Mothers' House" by author Patricia Polacco was removed from Davis School District library shelves and placed behind the counter last spring after complaints from some parents that a lifestyle they viewed as aberrant was favorably depicted in the book. Under a decision made by a district committee in April, the book remains in its school library collections, but students need permission from their parents to check it out. School officials acknowledge no similar limits have been placed on other titles in the library inventories of the Davis district, which encompasses an area north of Salt Lake City.



Parent Tina Weber objected to the restrictions, and attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit on her behalf in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, saying the policy amounts to "prior restraint" that violates her children's free-speech rights. No hearings have been set in the case, for which the ACLU is seeking class-action status. Utah is not the first place parents have raised concerns about Polacco's book, which was published in 2009. A 2011 report by the ACLU of Texas showed "In Our Mothers' House" was banned in several schools in that state. The Utah lawsuit asserts that by restricting access to a book based on its depiction of a family with same-sex parents, "the district has placed a discriminatory burden on the students' ability to access fully protected speech." "Even worse, restricting access to 'In Our Mothers' House' and segregating it from the rest of the library collection places an unconstitutional stigma on the book and the students who wish to read it," the lawsuit says. Weber has two children who attend Windridge Elementary School, where other parents first complained about the book, and she gave her youngsters permission to check it out.



Their ages are not specified in the lawsuit, but the legal director for the ACLU's Utah chapter said Weber read the story together with her 6-year-old daughter. District officials have not yet been served with the lawsuit and cannot comment on its contents, spokesman Chris Williams told Reuters on Wednesday. NOT ON THE SHELVES, 'BUT ACCESSIBLE' "We still feel very comfortable with the process we followed, which is laid out in district policy," Williams said. "We still believe that at no time did we take parents out of the driver's seat. Parents still have the opportunity, if they want their child to read the book, to get it. It's not on the shelves, but it's accessible." Parents were informed by letter of the restricted access after a district panel voted 6-1 in favor of requiring permission slips to check out the book. An elementary school committee of parents and educators decided earlier to allow only children in grades 3 and up to read the book. "I was shocked when I heard that a handful of parents had made a decision about whether everyone else's kids could have access to this book," Weber said in a statement issued through Utah's ACLU office.



District officials have said that leaving the book on the library shelves would run afoul of Utah state sex education laws that prohibit any advocacy of homosexuality in the school curriculum. The district argues that curriculum extends to its library collections. The ACLU lawsuit argues that library books are not curriculum materials and that including the book in library offerings does not amount to an endorsement of homosexuality. The author of numerous award-winning children's books, Polacco has said she wrote the "In Our Mothers' House" after attending a school assembly where a child was silenced for speaking out about her same-sex parents.



http://news.yahoo.co...-002926695.html
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Old November 18th, 2012, 07:11 AM   #2
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The battle between this book and the Davis County School District actually goes back to 2011. The lawsuit appears to be the end result of the battle.



A snippet on Davis County and banned books. Also, a snippet on Polacco's book "In Our Mothers' House."



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Banned Books Awareness: “In Our Mothers’ House”





If you celebrate and practice your basic human right to free expression, you just might want to avoid Davis County in Utah. The small county, made up of about 15 cities, has a population of about 285,000 and the dubious distinction of engaging in book banning throughout the years.



In 1978, Jeanne Layton, director of the Davis County Library in Bountiful, lost her job for refusing to remove Don DeLillo’s Americana from library shelves.



In 1991, on the 200th anniversary of the ratification of the Bill of Rights, observances such as Banned Book Week served as a reminder that the American people have the right to free speech, free expression, and a free press. Instead of encouraging the practice of those rights, Davis County did the exact opposite when some parents complained to the Davis County School Board because John Gardner’s Grendel was required reading in the English curriculum at Viewmont High School. The book was permanently banned from further use in the district.



But that was the 20th century. Surely the residents of Davis County have left such incidents within the pages of history, right? Sadly, censorship and social intolerance are alive and well as the flames of ignorance rage on into the next millennium. The Davis County School District, which covers an area north of Salt Lake City, is targeting books that portray families of same-sex parents. In Our Mothers’ House and Totally Joe, a book with the message that bullying of homosexual teenagers is wrong by providing a glimpse into the suffering of gay teens, who all too often take their own lives.



In Our Mothers’ House, published in 2009 by Patricia Polacco, was chosen by librarians specifically because there are children in the district with same-sex parents. The book features a lesbian couple teaching their multi-racial family to use love to give them the strength to overcome intolerance. Librarians wanted to make the school’s children feel included and also wanted to help other children understand that various types of families are all acceptable. Chris Williams, a spokesman for the Davis School District, said the book was added to the collections at five of the district’s 50 elementary schools in June, 2010, in an “effort to be inclusive after administrators learned that a student was being raised by two mothers.” That is an honorable and just thing to do; but not for one parent.



The parent raised her objections to the school when her child checked In Our Mothers’ House out of the library and brought it home in January, 2011.

A school-level committee made up of teachers, administrators, and parents ruled that access to In Our Mothers’ House would be restricted to students in grades 3 through 6. When that didn't satisfy the parent, a district committee was petitioned to address the issue. In April, the district committee voted 6-1 that the book could stay in the collection, but should be kept behind the counter, instead of on shelves. A letter informing parents of the decision was sent out in May. But now the district is on a witch hunt, asking district librarians to report other books with gay or lesbian characters. DaNae Leu, a Davis media specialist, may well be the next to suffer the fate of Jeanne Layton. She says her goal is “to provide literature for my students that encompasses the whole scope of humanity.” She argues that, while parents should be able to steer their own children toward or away from a particular book, they “shouldn't expect to make that choice for other people’s children.” Exactly the point. Again, while it is every parents’ right to raise their children as they wish, they do not have the authority to use that right to suppress another parent from doing the same. The book is not legally defined as offensive or profane, so a personal grudge based on personal ideology should not trump the legal rights of others as guaranteed by federal law.



This isn't the first time the book has faced fire, though, according to a 2011 report by the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas. The book has been banned by several schools in that state.



http://bannedbooks.w...mothers-house/
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Old November 18th, 2012, 08:44 AM   #3
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What about the book "King and King?"
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Old November 18th, 2012, 12:54 PM   #4
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What about the book "King and King?"


There hasn't been many incidents of King and King being banned as of late. I know banning the book was prevalent in 2004-2006. If I had to guess, I would say few school districts would bother after the 2006 lawsuit in Massachusetts where that pair of parents tried to sue the school district for letting a teacher read it aloud to second graders. The parents' appeal later on did little to sway the courts decisions.



There was an attempted ban in Allentown, PA back in 2007 when parents were angry about the book being at the public library. The library director took the parents' complaints with a grain of salt and a statement about parental responsibility.
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Old November 19th, 2012, 07:33 AM   #5
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Nothing like making a gay child - or the child of gay parents - feel inferior and second-rate and ashamed. Nothing should make these sanctimonious asswipes feel better than making a child miserable and unhappy.
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Old November 19th, 2012, 09:44 AM   #6
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I give kudos to the majority of American libraries that follow the ALA standards and ethics. The library is not a place for censorship or personal agenda. The library is that one place where every person in a community should be able to find at least one thing that relates to them. I think the only materials libraries in America draw a line at are pornographic materials (though some will debate the nature of "50 Shades of Grey") or materials written for the purpose of spreading hate. In regards to the latter of the two, I think most could argue legitimately why such things should still be available to the public.
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Old November 20th, 2012, 01:01 PM   #7
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What about the book "King and King?"


A better title for that one would have been, "Peter and Dick."
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Old November 20th, 2012, 01:03 PM   #8
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I give kudos to the majority of American libraries that follow the ALA standards and ethics. The library is not a place for censorship or personal agenda. The library is that one place where every person in a community should be able to find at least one thing that relates to them. I think the only materials libraries in America draw a line at are pornographic materials (though some will debate the nature of "50 Shades of Grey") or materials written for the purpose of spreading hate. In regards to the latter of the two, I think most could argue legitimately why such things should still be available to the public.


I'm against pushing the "happy face" politically correct narrative about homosexuality on school children.



That said, I'm equally strongly against censorship in school libraries, especially at the upper-grade levels. Keeping a book in a library isn't forcing, endorsing or opposing any idea or another.



It's giving students an opportunity to explore ideas from all possible sources and angles, and expand their minds.
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Old November 20th, 2012, 01:21 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by XanderCrews' timestamp='1353350660' post='439063

I give kudos to the majority of American libraries that follow the ALA standards and ethics. The library is not a place for censorship or personal agenda. The library is that one place where every person in a community should be able to find at least one thing that relates to them. I think the only materials libraries in America draw a line at are pornographic materials (though some will debate the nature of "50 Shades of Grey") or materials written for the purpose of spreading hate. In regards to the latter of the two, I think most could argue legitimately why such things should still be available to the public.


I'm against pushing the "happy face" politically correct narrative about homosexuality on school children.



That said, I'm equally strongly against censorship in school libraries, especially at the upper-grade levels. Keeping a book in a library isn't forcing, endorsing or opposing any idea or another.



It's giving students an opportunity to explore ideas from all possible sources and angles, and expand their minds.




The fact that this case is simply about a book being available in a library is what astounds me. I'm surprised the school district took the side of the disgruntled parent instead of free access to all.
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Old November 21st, 2012, 12:40 PM   #10
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I agree with mytmouse - I certainly don't agree with the premises set forth in Mein Kampf - but it should be available in the library.
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