UNITED STATES NEWS

Utah school district returns the Bible to shelves after appeals and outcry

Jun 20, 2023, 5:46 PM

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Bible will return to the shelves in a northern Utah school district that provoked an outcry after it banned them from middle and elementary schools last month.

The Davis School District, which educates 72,000 students north of Salt Lake City, said in a statement on Tuesday that its board had determined the sacred text was age-appropriate for all district libraries. In allowing the Bible to be accessible to students regardless of their grade level, the board sided with 70 people who filed appeals after it was banned last month.

“Based on their assessment of community standards, the appeal committee determined that The Bible has significant, serious value for minors which outweighs the violent or vulgar content it contains,” the committee wrote in a decision published along with school board materials on Tuesday.

The committee’s reversal is the latest development in the debate over a Utah law allowing parents to challenge “sensitive materials” available to children in public schools. Parents’ rights activists successfully lobbied for the legislation in 2022 amid a broader national wave of scrutiny facing the materials accessible in schools and libraries — particularly about race, gender and sexuality.

In statehouses from Florida to Arkansas, Republicans have enacted laws that expand parents’ power to challenge what’s available in schools and libraries and, in some places, subject librarians to criminal penalties for providing materials deemed harmful to minors. The legislative effort is one prong of growing push to ban certain titles; the number of attempts to ban or restrict books across the U.S. in 2022 was the highest in the 20 years, according to the American Library Association.

In Utah, the effort to ban the Bible reignited debate about the standards used to judge the content in books. The initial challenge was filed by an unnamed individual who criticized the conservative parents’ activists clamoring to remove books from libraries and the standards they have lobbied the state to adopt.

“Utah Parents United left off one of the most sex-ridden books around: The Bible,” the challenge said, referring to one of the primary groups involved in curriculum battles. “You’ll no doubt find that the Bible .. has no serious values for minors because it’s pornographic by our new definition … If the books that have been banned so far are any indication for way lesser offenses, this should be a slam dunk.”

The challenge also derided a “bad faith process” and said the district was “ceding our children’s education, First Amendment Rights, and library access” to Parents United.

The committee’s decision to remove the Bible vexed advocates for expanding local control and parents’ ability to challenge books. Republican Ken. Ivory, the lawmaker who sponsored the state’s “sensitive materials” law at first opposed the Bible’s removal and called the challenge “a mockery.” He later said the text was best read at home but ultimately pushed for its return to schools and attacked the process that removed it from Davis County schools.

In an interview with The Associated Press earlier this month, Ivory said lawmakers should revise the law to ensure book-removal decisions have to be overseen by elected officials at open public meetings, not the kind of committee that decided to remove the Bible from middle and elementary schools in the Davis School District.

At Davis School District’s board meeting on Tuesday, school board members said their majority-parent review committee was convened and had made its initial decision — and weighed appeals — in line with the law.

“The magnitude of the value of the Bible as a literary work outweighs any violence or profanity which may be contained in the book,” Davis School District Board Vice President Brigit Gerrard said.

United States News

Associated Press

Several people shot at Oakland Juneteenth Celebration, police say

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — A Juneteenth celebration turned violent when several people were shot, police in Oakland, California, said. The Lake Merritt event on Wednesday night was largely peaceful, with as many as 5,000 in attendance, until a sideshow involving “motorbikes and vehicles” took place at Bellevue and Grand avenues at around 8:15 p.m. on […]

3 hours ago

Palestinians displaced by the Israeli air and ground offensive on the Gaza Strip walk through a mak...

Associated Press

Rifts seem to appear between Israel’s political and military leadership over conduct of the Gaza war

In a rare public rift between the country’s leadership, an Israeli army spokesman appeared to question the goal of destroying Hamas.

11 hours ago

Associated Press

Probe finds carelessness caused Jewish student group’s omission from New Jersey high school yearbook

An investigation into how and why a Jewish student group was erased from a New Jersey high school yearbook found the omission was caused by negligence and carelessness, but was not done on purpose or out of malice, the school district announced Wednesday. East Brunswick Public Schools hired a law firm to investigate after the […]

12 hours ago

California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Tuesday, June 18, 2024, that he wants to restrict students' ...

Associated Press

California governor wants to restrict smartphone usage in schools

Gavin Newsom announced he wants to restrict students' usage of phones during the school day, citing the mental health risks of social media.

12 hours ago

Associated Press

Shooting in Philadelphia wounds 7 people, police say

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Seven people were wounded Wednesday evening in a shooting in Philadelphia, police said. The shooting happened just before 6:30 p.m. in North Philadelphia. The victims include a 19-year-old man who was shot in the leg, a 31-year-old woman shot in the hand, a 23-year-old man shot in the buttock, and two women […]

13 hours ago

Associated Press

Boaters find $1 million of cocaine floating off Florida Keys

MIAMI (AP) — Recreational boaters found $1 million worth of cocaine floating in the ocean off the Florida Keys. Samuel Briggs II, the acting chief patrol agent of the U.S. Border Patrol, wrote about the find in a social media post on X. Briggs posted video Monday night showing the wrapped packages of cocaine being […]

16 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Sanderson Ford

3 new rides for 3 new road trips in Arizona

It's time for the Sanderson Ford Memorial Day sale with the Mighty Fine 69 Anniversary, as Sanderson Ford turned 69 years old in May.

...

COLLINS COMFORT MASTERS

Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

Utah school district returns the Bible to shelves after appeals and outcry