Magazine article American Libraries

Utah Suit Restores to in Our Mothers' House

Magazine article American Libraries

Utah Suit Restores to in Our Mothers' House

Article excerpt

As of January 14, elementary-school students in the Davis (Utah) School District are once again free to borrow the Patricia Polacco picture book In Our Mothers' House, which district officials had ordered in May 2012 to be placed behind, the circulation counter and made available only to youngsters who presented written parental permission for them to read it. The district's change of heart toward the picture book--a multigenerational tale about the family life of a lesbian couple with three children, told in the voice of the oldest child--is a saga unto itself.

It all began in January 2012, when an unidentified parent of a Wind ridge Elementary School student filed a materials reconsideration request after her kindergartner brought the book home. The complainant objected to the book on the grounds that it "normalizes a lifestyle we don't agree with." After the Windridge School Library Media Committee voted to move the book from the Easy Reading section to Fiction, which is designed for 3rd-6th graders, the parent, along with 23 others, appealed to school-district officials. A seven-member District Reconsideration Committee voted 6-1 on May 8 to restrict access after committee member Michelle Beus, the district's legal issues specialist, cited a 2004 state law. Civic and Character Education in Schools, which prohibits "the advocacy of homosexuality" in curriculum materials.

Within a few weeks, district officials were asking school librarians to identify other gay-positive children's books in their collections. "It's almost like they want to preemptively pull books that might disturb somebody." DaNae Leu, a media specialist at the Snow Horse Elementary School, said in the June 1, 20l2, Salt Lake Tribune. "I feel like Joe McCarthy is asking me to name names."

Over the summer, the ACLU and the National Coalition Against Censorship sent a series of letters urging school officials to revisit their decision. …

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