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What should Utah schools do with library books deemed indecent and pornographic? – Desert News

The Utah State Board of Education briefly considered guidance for an administrative rule to implement Utah’s updated “sensitive materials” law, which requires books and other materials selected for removal from school libraries to be “shredded” or ‘burned’.

After a debate over the language, with some board members noting that “destroying” could be interpreted as burning books, the board adopted language calling for the “legal disposal” of the materials.

Board member Brent Strate requested an amendment to the document that stated “sensitive materials removed from student access will be destroyed,” replacing language saying it may not be sold or distributed to a minor .

“So I don’t care if it’s shredded or burned, it has to be destroyed somehow. They cannot read it because we cannot give it to those who turned 18 in their final year,” he said.

Board member Emily Green said that while some may take the proposed amendment lightly, “the work we are doing here today is at a level of seriousness that, beyond the puns of burning and banning books, we are essentially protecting children from distributing sexually explicit material, funded by taxpayer dollars through our public education system, K-12.”

She continued, “I recognize that this has been a very tough lift. It is very controversial, but the work we are doing here today, I believe, corrects a wrong that has been channeled through our public education system.”

Strate said he appreciated “the serious attitude” toward his proposed amendment.

“I will tell you that I absolutely mean it, and that if this material is like that, I am not making any reference to the burning of books. I just want it in a situation where it’s not available, it’s gone and it’s not visible to anyone else. So yeah, so give me the same grace I gave you regarding my intentions,” he said.

Board member Carol Lear said if she seemed “jovial,” it was “because I find it interesting that not all parents are respected. This is about the parents of some students, but not the parents of all students, and I find it interesting and somewhat contradictory that not all parental rights are respected here, because, honestly, I trust my children and grandchildren. I think they have a good choice,” she said.

“I don’t think it’s funny that we’re going to sell books, we’re going to ban books, and we’re going to burn books and we’re going to put them on carts and dump them behind the dumpster at school, because kids are so desperate for information that they apparently they don’t get it clearly from their parents.”

Lear continued, “So I think my attitude is justified. I appreciate other people’s seriousness, but I find it difficult to take this seriously. Frankly, I hope this is so bad that someone challenges the rule and the law.”

Board member Natalie Cline said placing discarded materials in school waste containers would result in a “feeding frenzy” once students realize this is where they are being thrown away.

Cline said she was grateful for Strate’s motion and suggested that those who oppose it “have not had to deal with a close family member who has been properly educated and yet continues to succumb to these types of addictions, behavioral addictions that primarily affect their sense of right and exceed evil.” when they are young and prematurely exposed to things that sexualize them.”

The board, which met Friday, voted to amend board rule R277-628, Sensitive Materials, to align its guidelines with HB29, Sensitive Material Review Amendments, sponsored by Rep. Ken Ivory, R-West Jordan.

The legislation, passed earlier this year, gives the public school board the ability to hold a hearing to reverse the removal of books or other materials in school libraries statewide. Three school districts or two school districts and five charter schools have been deemed pornographic or indecent under the law. state law.

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