OPINION

Opinion: Would we need to ban books in school if parents just parented?

Mar 24, 2023, 2:00 PM

An attempt to ban books in Utah has been met with someone trying to ban the Bible. Book challenge l...

Library at Tooele High School on Monday, March 20, 2023. (Scott G. Winterton/Deseret News)

(Scott G. Winterton/Deseret News)

This is an editorial piece. An editorial, like a news article, is based on fact but also shares opinions. The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and are not associated with our newsroom. 

DAVIS COUNTY, Utah — There was a lot of hoopla this week about the effort in the Davis County School District to ban the Bible. The challenge comes after a law was passed a year ago to create a process to ban books with “sensitive materials” in schools. The law defines sensitive materials as “instructional materials that are pornographic or indecent.”

Since the passage of this law, Utah school districts have seen dozens of requests to review books. But here’s the thing. In the Granite District, of the 44 complaints under review, District Spokesperson Ben Horsley says “most of them have come from one person.”

Requests to ban books from one person?

I ask my guests on A Woman’s View this Sunday how they feel about these challenges to books.

“We suddenly have a very small minority trying to decide for a vast majority what is and what is not appropriate,” said Barbara Smith, director of Communications at Utah Valley University.

“Public education is becoming the epicenter of the culture wars,” said Robbyn Scriber, co-founder and director of outreach for Tech Moms.

Scriber is particularly concerned with the statistic that shows the majority of books challenged in our schools were focused on or written by LGBTQ groups or people of color.

Looking to ban books is not a good trend

The number of requests to ban books from public school libraries in our country nearly doubled in 2022. There were over 2,571 separate titles that were the subject of complaints in the last year.

“It’s totally appropriate to say, ‘I don’t want my kid reading this book’,” Scriber said. “But it’s not okay to say, ‘I don’t want any kid reading this book’.”

That’s the key distinction, isn’t it? As parents, we absolutely have a right to control which books our children read. But requesting the book be removed from the school makes our decision, our point of view, mandatory for all children.

If parents just parented…

“There’s actually a path for parents to make sure their student doesn’t check out a book,”  said Debbie Dujanovic pointed out on Dave and Dujanovic earlier this week. “Of the 72,000 kids in the Davis School District alone, only 10 parents have exercised this option!”

What?

 

Dave and Dujanovic interviewed Chris Williams, the Davis School District’s director of communication and operations, who explained: “Any parent always has the ability to contact administrators at the school and let them know they don’t want their children to have access to certain books.”

“Why not just let parents parent?” asked Dujanovic.

Former Executiive Director of the Utah Department of Commerce Francine Gianni is on the same page with Dujanovic.

“We ought to be talking to our kids about what’s going on,” she said on A Woman’s View. She shared how she and her daughters had a good conversation about LGBTQ issues when one of their classmates said she had two moms.

Hear the full, fascinating conversation on A Woman’s View this Sunday at 8 a.m.

Amanda Dickson is the co-host of Utah’s Morning News and A Woman’s View.

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Opinion: Would we need to ban books in school if parents just parented?