Two books about LGBTQ+ experience previously banned have been returned to school shelves in a Missouri School District. George M. Johnson’s “All Boys Aren’t Blue” and “Fun Home” by Alison Bechdel was removed from four high schools in North Kansas City last month, according to the New York Daily News.
Part of the pushback against the removal of the books came from students themselves. According to the Kansas City Star, a student-led petition had more than 1,000 signatures.
Parents in another nearby district also pushed back against a proposed book ban. The push is part of the uninformed panic around school decision-making and student opportunity to learn about valuable perspectives.
Both books discuss perspectives and experiences not commonly represented in literature, providing a more representative selection for students. Claims that the content is “pornographic” are unfounded.
Johnson tweeted Monday that the book has been threatened or pulled in several states, but the fight isn’t over.
“This is a major win for authors, students, parents, librarians & teachers,” Johnson tweeted. “This means we have legal precedent & grounds to fight the book bans. All Boys Aren’t Blue continues to be pulled from libraries, but we now have a legal way to challenge that.”
The book ban was spurred by a group that also opposes school mask mandates. Before the board’s announcement, the ACLU of Missouri issued a written warning to the school district explaining existing precedent.
“Censoring these books is an attempt to appease the irascible bunch seeking to inflame political passions at the expense of students’ opportunity to learn,” said Tony Rothert, ACLU of Missouri Director of Integrated Advocacy. “This is an instance when elected officials must stand up for the Constitution, not cave to a few boisterous extremists.”
As explained by the ACLU, ten years ago, the organization sued a school district for applying a filter that blocked LGBTQ+ content on school library computers. “The case resulted in a landmark district court decision applying to the Internet the Supreme Court precedents prohibiting the censorship of books,” the ACLU of Missouri explained.
Simply put, the school district cannot ban books it doesn’t like. Removing a book requires a better reason than personal prejudice.
“Students must be free to access library books—without discrimination or censorship—that are LGBTQ+ affirming as well as books that provide an inclusive and accurate history of racism,” said ACLU of Missouri Executive Director Luz María Henríquez.