ACLU Files Lawsuit Over School District’s Book Removal Policy

A suburban Kansas City school district is being sued by the ACLU of Missouri for its practice of automatically removing any challenged library materials before they are reviewed.

The ACLU filed a complaint in the Western District of Missouri’s federal court on Tuesday afternoon. The lawsuit seeks to change the school district’s practice of immediately removing material upon a challenge, without first conducting a review.

The current policy actually does have a review process, but the process is conducted after the book is already removed from circulation… a policy that critics say can lead to books being removed for any reason without due process. Some people believe that this will be abused to target books with racial or LGBTQ+ subject matter.

“Across the state, from school boards to law makers and other officials, we have seen a coordinated effort by the government to censor books in both school and public libraries, especially those authored by and featuring the perspectives of people and communities of color, LGBTQ+, and other marginalized groups” said Gillian Wilcox, Deputy Director for Litigation with the ACLU of Missouri.

This comes on the heels of a national debate about school curriculum and libraries. The topic was a key issue in the most recent election cycle.

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