The movement to remove books from school libraries continues to put pressure on school boards | Education

They cited Section 18.2-391 of the Virginia Code, which states that it is illegal to sell, rent, or lend to a minor any book “containing … explicit and detailed verbal descriptions or narrative accounts of sexual arousal, sexual conduct or sadomasochistic abuse and which, as a whole, is detrimental to minors.

The same section continues to state that “any accredited museum, library, school or higher education institution” is exempt from this section of the code.

Federal law prohibits the “transfer of obscene material to minors”. According to the Department of Justice’s “Citizen’s Guide to Federal Obscenity Law,” documents must meet three standards to be considered obscene. The book “as a whole” is to be found “by the average person, applying contemporary standards of the adult community” to appeal to “lustful interests”, to describe sexual contact in a “manifestly offensive manner” and for “[lack] serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value.

Teachers, librarians and parents who spoke out against censorship at recent Spotsylvania school board meetings stressed that books cannot be deemed “explicit” based on certain passages taken out of context.

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At Monday’s meeting, Kimberly Allen, a county librarian who serves as the liaison between the secondary library and the school division’s education leadership team, reminded the school board that current board policy requires anyone to challenge a library book “read and rate the entire book, not just a page of a book used out of context.”

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