Utah School District Board Votes To Retain Bible In School Libraries

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Frances Floresca Contributor
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A Utah school district board unanimously voted Tuesday to make the Bible available to all school libraries for all grade levels, reversing a previous committee-based decision restricting it to only high schools.

A Davis School District lottery-selected committee, which reviews books with possible sexual content, initially retained the Bible in high schools but had them removed from elementary and junior high school libraries earlier in June. The school district board reversed that decision June 20.

The school district received a request in December 2022 by an unidentified individual to review the King James Version of the Bible to determine whether or not it should be in the district’s libraries. (RELATED: Utah School District Reportedly Pulls Bible From Elementary, Junior High School Libraries Over ‘Inappropriate’ Material)

School districts are required to include parents in a review committee in order to determine if a book contains “sensitive materials,” according to a 2022 Utah law.

The Utah Attorney General’s Office and guidance from the Utah State Board of Education requires committees to “determine whether a book contains material which violates the bright line rule,” outlined in the state’s code.

“If the book does not violate the bright line rule, the committee then considers age appropriateness of the book. Age appropriateness is determined by considering violent or vulgar content as well as whether the book – taken as a whole – has serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value for minors,” Davis School District spokesperson Chris Williams told reporters in a press statement. “Consideration of a book’s value for minors is dependent upon reliable expert reviews, the committee’s own experience and backgrounds, and the committee’s assessment of community standards.”

After the initial review, the committee determined the Bible did not contain material violating the “bright line rule.” It then considered age-appropriateness and decided that while it was age-appropriate for high school libraries, it was not for elementary or junior high schools, according to the statement.

“Some in the community have intimated that the initial committee’s decision, or the district’s policy/process have been intentionally manipulated to undermine Utah’s sensitive materials law,” Williams said. “This is wholly untrue.”

Williams said the school district has acted with intent to uphold the law and maintain school libraries free from harmful material.

The district has since conducted reviews for 60 books with 37 being removed from all school libraries due to bright line rule violations, according to the statement. Fourteen books were restricted at some schools due to age appropriateness, and nine books were retained at all levels, the press release said.

Williams stated the committee-based process is “thoughtful, methodical, respectful of varying perspectives” and complies with state law.

“I was glad to hear of the DSD’s unanimous decision to keep the Bible in schools,” Utah State Rep. Tyler Clancy told the Daily Caller. “The Bible is the premier text our nation was founded on, and has immeasurable literary and cultural value. In today’s divided times, we need leaders to stand up for basic Christian values and affirm the principles that hold our society together.”

Clancy said the U.S. is facing challenges at “home & abroad” and “we need God and His wisdom now more than ever.”