How conservative Facebook groups are changing what books children read in school

Conservative activists are becoming more and more powerful in identifying books on school shelves. Counties in Texas began requiring parental consent for books; in UtahNot only do parents have the power to control which books their children check out, but they have equal standing with teachers to challenge and review books for inclusion in the library at all.

This policy in Utah is perhaps one of the first success stories of conservative parent groups. Beavers says BookLooks does not track how parents use reviews to challenge school policy, but the group Utah Parents United appeared on the site as a “library trustee” and was instrumental in getting the state to implement its current system. beavers themselves have Witnessed In her local Brevard County school district, she successfully challenged 19 books to review in May.

Fighting

But these challenges don’t come without a fight, on Facebook and elsewhere. One organization that opposes banning books, the Florida Freedom to Read Project, says rating systems like BookLooks ignore the fact that teachers and librarians are specially trained to recommend books based on a child’s development, interests, and maturity, even though the material is currently broken down into suggested age groups from by publishers and editors.

“that they [conservative rate-and-review groups] You want to limit what’s available to anyone else, but these rating systems are made by people who don’t have any experience,” says Stefana Ferrell, co-founder of FFTRP. “We’d never do an exhibition system. There is no need for another rating system.”

Groups like Ferrell’s are concerned that assessments are eroding the voices of those in marginalized communities. “Those reviewers who focus only on controversial topics with the goal of restricting access to books with which they disagree reflect a bias that does not take into account the needs of the diverse families and individuals served by schools and public libraries,” Deborah Caldwell Stone, director of the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom, said in a statement.

scary ‘porn’ stories

Many parents in conservative groups say pornography is one of their main concerns. For example, beavers cite an oral sex scene in Maia Kobabe gay sexa graphic novel about coming of age, was what motivated her to act. gay sex It has been banned in many schools across the country.

“We ask to review the books and their conflict with pornography laws and to judge what would be appropriate for the school environment,” she says. But her group’s view of what is considered porn is not always in line with the laws. On August 30, a Virginia court dismissed the allegations gay sex and another book, Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Mas, it was obscene. The separation means that liberal groups now have reasons to challenge book bans in other countries.

The driving force behind many of the conservative review groups on Facebook is Moms for Liberty. Moms for Liberty is a nonprofit that advocates for school reforms (often including book bans). It has an extensive network of regional branches ready to organize locally on behalf of the national organisation. Beavers, for example, is a board member of her local group Moms for Liberty.

Ferrell says the FFTRP business was established when members of Moms for Liberty began lobbying for removal gay sex from its local area. She and her co-founder purchased books for distribution to local librarians, and they also made public gifts of books featuring a variety of voices.

For her, the fight is about the quality of education for her children. “Most parents want to give their kids more, not less, access,” she says. “I’m really worried about the future of children’s education because of this.”

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