FARMINGTON, Utah (ABC4) — Copies of the King James Bible are being removed from school library shelves at elementary and junior high facilities in Davis County, Utah, after a complaint that the scriptures feature material inappropriate for younger children.
The complaint was filed by an unknown person in March after a statewide law passed in 2022 allowed residents to challenge the books found in school libraries. As of March, the law was used 81 times with Davis County having removed 33 books for material found to contain sex, vulgarity, and violence.
A book removal request can be made on the district’s website, however, the requester must include reasoning. For example, the request for the Bible’s review included 49 pages of Biblical verses that could be deemed inappropriate under the law, including instances of murder, sex, and incest.
Davis County School District Communications Director Christopher Williams said Thursday that while the committee didn’t find that the book contained “sensitive material as defined in Utah Code 76-10-1227, 76-10-1201 or 76-10-1203,” some vulgarity and violence was deemed to be age-inappropriate for younger readers.
The Bible will remain on high school library shelves, however. Williams said the Bible is not taught as part of district curriculum and is being removed from about “7-8” elementary and junior high schools.
Williams also stated that an appeal has already been filed by someone who wants the Bible retained at all age levels. That appeal will be heard by a three-member committee from the Davis School District Board of Education, which will then forward the issue to the full board for a final decision.
At the moment, school is not in session in Davis County and will not resume until August 17.
There are currently over a dozen committees reviewing various book removal requests. Davis School District’s book selection and removal policies are available online.
A list of books that were or are currently under review can be found online, as well. Click on the “Sensitive Materials” tab to see the full list. Some removed books include:
- “Water for Elephants” by Sarah Gruen
- “Out of Darkness” by Ashley Hope Lopez
- “Looking for Alaska” by John Green
- “Fallout” by Ellen Hopkins
- “Go Ask Alice” by Beatrice Sparks
- “Oryx and Crake” by Margaret Atwood
- “The Lovely Bones” by Alice Sebold
- “The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison
LGBTQ+ book bans
The trend of books being banned from school libraries has increased in the past few years.
Books written by or for members of the LGBTQ+ community in particular have faced heightened scrutiny.
Some LGBTQ+ titles that have already been removed from Utah school libraries include “Red White and Royal Blue” by Casey McQuiston and “All Boys Aren’t Blue” by George Johnson.” Some LGBTQ+ titles currently under review by DSD are “The Black Flamingo” by Dean Atta, “Flamer” by Mike Curato and “Felix Ever After” by Kacen Callender.
In reference to LGBTQ+ materials marketed toward younger audiences, the LGBTQ+ community has faced targeted accusations of “grooming” from some far-right and conservative groups, though the Anti-Defamation League notes the language is not used legitimately.
“Instead, [anti-LGBTQ+ figures] imply or explicitly claim that LGBTQ+ people are pedophiles who are preying on children by discussing issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity,” writes ADL.
As defined by the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), the word “grooming” refers to “manipulative behaviors that [a sexual abuser] uses to gain access to a potential victim, coerce them to agree to abuse, and reduce the risk of being caught.”