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Utah School District Bans Bible for ‘Vulgarity and Violence,’ Which Violates a GOP-Backed State Law | #schoolsaftey

One Utah school district banned the Bible from primary schools following a complaint from a parent who wished to draw attention to how a Republican-backed law is being used to ban LGBTQ+ books

A Utah school district has banned the Bible for “vulgarity and violence” after the state’s Republican legislature passed a law banning books deemed “pornographic or indecent” from schools.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports that the Davis School District (which lies north of Salt Lake City) has limited access to the King James Version of the Bible to high school–aged students only, following a December 2022 complaint from a parent who wished to draw attention to the pitfalls of the GOP-backed law.

That law, passed in 2022, allows parents to submit requests for the removal of books containing “pornographic” or “indecent material.”

Since its passage, the law has largely been used to target books with references to LGBTQ+ individuals — until one Davis County parent filed a complaint about the Bible, arguing that it is “one of the most sex-ridden books around.”

“Incest, onanism, bestiality, prostitution, genital mutilation, fellatio, dildos, rape, and even infanticide,” the complaint read. “You’ll no doubt find that the Bible, under Utah Code Ann. § 76-10-1227, has ‘no serious values for minors’ because it’s pornographic by our new definition.”

Related: Chasten Buttigieg Opens Up About Book Bans, Memoir and Life as a Dad: 'Gets Me Really Emotional' (Exclusive)

Republican Rep. Ken Ivory — who sponsored the 2022 bill that outlined the book bans — is now calling for all Utah schools to “thoroughly review the age/appropriateness of all instructional materials” in the wake of the Bible ban at some Davis County schools.

Still, Ivory did acknowledge that the King James Bible is “a challenging read for elementary or middle school children on their own,” adding in a statement: “Traditionally, in America, the Bible is best taught, and best understood, in the home, and around the hearth, as a family.”

The Tribune adds that the Book of Mormon — the foundation text for members of the Mormon faith, which have a concentrated population in Utah — is now also being challenged in the same school district.

BBC reports that officials say they have now removed any copies of the Bible (which was not part of the curriculum) from school shelves in the district.

A recent analysis found that most recent book bans have stemmed from just a handful of parents who have complained. In many cases, books can be removed from school libraries even if they aren’t part of the school’s curriculum and even if only one parent has filed a complaint.

Related: Meet the FReadom Fighters Taking On Book Bans and Online Abuse: 'Books Are Not Contraband' 

Earlier this year, a Florida school banned four books for elementary students after one parent objected to the titles and argued they were inappropriate. One of the banned books was a collection of poems by Amanda Gorman that includes her noteworthy The Hill We Climb piece, which she wrote for the last presidential inauguration.

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Advocacy group PEN America says that, during the first half of the 2022-23 school year, some 1,477 individual books have been banned across the country, an increase of 28% compared to the prior six months.

While a 2022 poll found that more than 70% of parents oppose book banning, many school districts cave to pressure from parental complaints, choosing to err on the side of caution rather than risk pushback, even if it means overwhelmingly banning books that target stories by and about people of color and LGBTQ+ individuals.

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