Curbing book bans in schools
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Middle school and high school libraries have become ideological battlegrounds in communities nationwide, including Washington State.
That prompted the House Education Committee to vote on party lines Tuesday to advance House Bill 2331 from Rep. Monica Stonier, D-Vancouver, ahead of Wednesday’s policy cutoff. The bill aims to stave off school book bans rooted in discrimination.1 It would also institute procedures for local public schools and school boards to address requests for books to be removed from school libraries and classrooms.
Here’s why you should care2 about this: The legislation comes in response to a tsunami of book ban attempts nationwide. In 2022, the American Library Association recorded more than 1,200 demands to censor library books and other school resources, a 38% increase from the previous year. The number of books permanently banned in schools across the United States has quadrupled in the past year and the primary targets are books written by or about LGBTQ+ and people of color.
Here in Washington, the American Library Association recorded 17 attempts in 2022 to remove 38 titles. The book challenged most frequently was “This Book is Gay,” a young adult nonfiction book about coming out.