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ACLU of Wisconsin files open record requests with several school districts that banned books

ACLU filed records requests with Menomonee Falls, Howard-Suamico, Waukesha, Elmbrook, Elkhorn, and Kenosha Unified school districts.
Rising book bans in US make school libraries political battlegrounds
Posted at 10:34 AM, Dec 14, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-14 11:34:37-05

MILWAUKEE — The ACLU of Wisconsin filed records requests Wednesday with six school districts for information about their decisions to ban books from school libraries.

ACLU filed records requests with Menomonee Falls, Howard-Suamico, Waukesha, Elmbrook, Elkhorn, and Kenosha Unified school districts.

According to ACLU, school officials have removed books in these six districts in response to pressure campaigns from "extremist parent groups."

The ACLU's requests note that removing books from school libraries threatens the First Amendment rights of students and their families. ACLU says the Supreme Court held over 40 years ago that “local school boards may not remove books from school library shelves simply because they dislike the ideas contained in those books.”

The interim legal director of the ACLU of Wisconsin, Tim Muth, said in part, "Book banning has historically been used to marginalize underrepresented and disempowered voices and communities. We are particularly troubled by the dangerous anti- LGBTQ+ rhetoric accompanying much of the recent book-banning advocacy. Nationally, LGBTQ+ youth are far more likely to be bullied and harassed at school, alienated from their families and communities, and suffer from depression and suicidal ideation than their non- LGBTQ+ peers. For LGBTQ+ youth who are isolated at home, in school, or in their community, access to LGBTQ+ representation or information in books and literature can be a refuge – and, in some cases, life-saving."