The Missouri chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is suing a school district for its book reviewing policy that immediately removes challenged books following any complaints.
The ACLU Missouri is suing Independence School District (ISD) on behalf of four parents alleging that the policy “restricts their access to ideas and information for an improper purpose and without any prior notice,” violating their First Amendment rights.
The policy details that if a book is flagged for “objectionable” material, it is immediately removed pending review by a committee without any process to appeal the final decision.
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“ISD has enforced a policy and removed books from school libraries based on objections to the ideas and viewpoints expressed and the policy remains in place,” the lawsuit stated.
The lawsuit comes after “Cats vs. Robots Volume 1: This is War,” a storybook about coding, was removed from the school district in April following a parent complaint that the book featured a non-binary character, the ACLU press released stated.
“Equity in our education system is further eroded when the government sets policies that require challenged books to automatically be pulled from shelves without notice or an opportunity to appeal the final decision, denying students their First Amendment and Due Process rights,” Gillian Wilcox, deputy director for litigation with the ACLU of Missouri, said in a press release.
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“The District will vigorously defend against this lawsuit,” ISD said in a statement to the AP. “It is unfortunate that the District will be required to expend taxpayer funds to defend against the ACLU’s latest unfounded complaint.”