House and Senate Democrats have begun to prepare a resolution aimed at blocking local “book bans” by parents who believe gender identity, social agendas and explicit sexual content should be removed from a child’s education, Politico reported Thursday.
The resolution, concerned about the spread of book banning, “reaffirms the United States’ commitment to supporting writers’ freedom of expression, and the freedom of all Americans to read books without government censorship,” according to Politico. Erika Sanzi, director of outreach for Parents Defending Education (PDE), told the Daily Caller News Foundation that PDE does not support book bans, yet believes explicit content is inappropriate in K-12 settings.
“Parents Defending Education has never supported book bans. The fact that most school libraries don’t stock ‘Art of the Deal’ does not mean the book is banned and the same goes for a book with sexually explicit illustrations and content deemed to be inappropriate in a K-12 setting,” Sanzi said.
The draft resolution references a 1982 Supreme Court decision, Board of Education v. Pico, which established a precedent that blocked schools from removing books from high school and junior high libraries in a “narrowly partisan or political manner,” according to Politico. (RELATED: Jill Biden Says ‘All Books’ Should Be In Schools After Libraries Exposed Kids To Explicit Content)
Democratic Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin, a sponsor of the resolution, told Politico that removing books from K-12 libraries is an attack on First Amendment rights. “The wave of book bans that has swept across our country in recent years is a direct attack on First Amendment rights and should alarm every American who believes that freedom of expression is a fundamental pillar of our democracy,” he said.
Sanzi told the DCNF that a good first step in the book debate would be defining what an actual book ban is. “We don’t think graphic novels that contain sexually explicit images and have a recommended age of 18+ on Amazon belong in schools but we would never say that the city or town’s public library or the local bookstore shouldn’t stock them. Perhaps a good first step would be for people to start being honest about what an actual book ban is.”
“No Left Turn in Education is watching with great concern the incoming resolutions by top congressional and Senate Democrats to prevent American parents from exercising their right to direct the upbringing of their children,” Yael Levin, chief communications officer and Virginia chapter president of No Left Turn in Education, told the DCNF. “We find the claim that these resolutions are meant to ‘protect the rights of students to learn,’ disingenuous.”
No Left Turn in Education is looking for solutions, not bans, said Levin. “We are a part of a nationwide book-rating coalition that rates books per similar standards as movies. Appropriately labeling books based on content, is a commonsense way to uphold the right of parents to direct the upbringing of their own children, without imposing their standards and values on other parents and their children.”
Expand your reading list and stand against literary censorship with this one-year reading challenge and book journal from ALA & @Sourcebooks #BannedBooksWeek https://t.co/xIeZ7D8PbZ pic.twitter.com/2VbRKozPkh
— American Library Association (@ALALibrary) September 21, 2022
Over the past few years, many books have been removed from school libraries across the country for a multitude of reasons. Sexually explicit images and content, profanity, violence, anti-police messaging and indoctrination to social agendas have all been referenced as key issues parents wish to address, according to Banned and Challenged Books.
Some of the more controversial books are “Gender Queer” by Maia Kobabe, “This Book is Gay“ by Juno Dawson, “All Boys Aren’t Blue” by George M. Johnson and “The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas. The American Federation of Teachers and National Education Association labor unions have endorsed the resolution which will affect nearly 4 million U.S. schoolchildren, Politico reported.
Moms For Liberty did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.
This story has been updated with comment from No Left Turn in Education.
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