District Removes Books, Again

School District Pulls Eight More Books From Shelves


     As the new school year starts, some titles have been removed from the school library. Missouri passed a bill in August banning “sexually explicit material” on school property.

     If library media specialists find a book that falls into that category, they must take it to the library coordinator who takes it to the library committee, where they make the decision to keep it or pull it. That has led to eight new books being banned from classrooms and libraries in the North Kansas City School District.

“Anything that is considered sexually explicit material. It’s really focused right now on visual depictions.”

— Library Media Specialist Ashley Bennett

     “It will further divide us in school, and minorities will face more prejudice,” said junior Katherine Crist. “Hiding information from us makes us trust them less. Taking these books away leads to discrimination.”

     Missouri Senate Bill 775 led to the district removal of books due to “sexually explicit visuals.” Those include, “Handmaid’s Tale: The Graphic Novel,” “Fun Home,” “Gender Queer,” “Flamer,” “The Sun and Her Flowers,” “Home After the Dark,” “Be Gay, Do Comics,” “This Book is Gay” and “Zahara’s Paradise.” “Any obscene material or performance depicting sexual conduct” Bill 775 states. Now, libraries have to be more thorough when looking at books with graphics. “Anything that is considered sexually explicit material,” library media specialist Ashley Bennett said. “It’s really focused right now on visual depictions.”

     Since the new bill passed, teachers and libraries across the state have had to ensure they don’t have copies of these books by removing the books and deleting them from the records. “

     By law, we are legally bound to take those off the shelves, for our jobs,” library paraprofessional Kristen Taylor said.

     If a classroom or school library is caught with one of these books, the staff could be severely penalized. Teachers, librarians and any school employee could end up with a year in jail for providing a student with one of these books. This new law also brought up concerns about the groups targeted by the law. From the new list, six out of eight of the books are about the LGBTQ community. The book ban not only affects libraries but communities of people as well. There has been a trend in LGBTQ books being pulled. Some believe the law was snuck in. The book-ban wording was added to a much larger bill meant to help survivors of human trafficking and sexual assault.

     “When the law was presented, both sides are going to look at the title of the law and say, ‘Who’s going to vote against that’,” Taylor said. The bill was written in a way to make legislators choose between helping sexual assault and trafficking survivors or refusing to ban books. As more books leave school libraries across Missouri, the question becomes, “What books will be targeted next?” 

Read: Missouri Senate Bill 775

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