September 2016 Church & State - September 2015

Va. Official Moves To Ban ‘Offensive’ Books From Schools

  AU admin

A Virginia state legislator has partnered with a Chesterfield County parent to ban certain books from school reading lists in a campaign with clear religious underpinnings.

The parent, Shannon Easter, told reporters that she decided to protest the books after reading information from Focus on the Family; she has earned the support of state Sen. Amanda Chase (R-Chesterfield).

“Most parents, if they actually read excerpts [of these books], would have grave concerns,” Chase told The Chest­erfield Observer. “Whenever we start introducing kids to what I would say is explicitly pornographic material, I question the appropriateness of that material, especially when it conflicts with the core values that CCPS puts forward. As a parent, that’s not something that I want my kids reading.”

Easter and Chase primarily object to books that portray LGBT relationships and discuss issues like drug use. They singled out Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor And Park, Walter Dean Myers’ Dope Sick and Coe Booth’s Tyrell.

These books had been included on a summer reading list of recommended titles, but no student was required to read them. Each has won critical acclaim.

In August, Americans United joined the National Coalition Against Censorship and other groups in a joint letter to county education officials, warning them not to censor the books.

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The Supreme Court just gutted decades of precedent by stripping away public school students’ religious freedom rights.

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